Santa Claus makes his naughty list long before Dec. 25, but Guilford County Tax Director Ben Chavis waits until a couple of weeks after Christmas before he sits down at his desk in the Old Guilford County Court House and makes out his own naughty list – the list of people who didn’t pay their Guilford County property taxes before the deadline.

Real estate and personal property listed for taxation in Guilford County are billed in July and must be paid by Jan. 5 or the county will start charging you interest and, eventually, start enforcing collection in unpleasant ways.  This year the 5th falls on a Friday.

Those who are paying now will pay the full amount of their tax bills.  For years, the Tax Department offered a 0.5 percent discount for those who paid their property tax bills on or before August 31, but now, thanks to the generosity of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, those who pay early receive a whopping 1 percent discount.

Guilford County consistently has one of the very highest tax collection rates among the state’s 100 counties – well, above 99 percent.  So, if you don’t pay now you’ll no doubt end up paying later.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to pay, and the county, unlike the lottery, takes credit cards. It also takes debit cards. You can pay your tax bill with American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, VISA, or e-Check at

You can also call 336-203-7795 and pay. However, that number is good for credit and debit cards only.

In addition, you can use snail mail and send your check – or money order – to PO Box 71072, Charlotte, NC 28272-1072.  There’s probably no need to remind people not to send thousands of dollars in cash through the mail – or any amount of cash for that matter.

There was something of an uproar years ago when people saw the Tax Department wanted them to send their payments to Charlotte – which is not in Guilford County – however, tax officials say it’s more efficient to do it that way and, by now, most Guilford County taxpayers are used to sending their payments to the Queen City.

If you prefer to keep it local, you can use the 24/7 drop boxes at 400 W. Market St. in Greensboro and 325 E. Russell Ave in High Point.  Tax Department staff is asking people not to drop off cash in those boxes.

Guilford County uses a service called Payit to process online and phone payments and there will be fees for using that service.  The money for the fees goes to Payit, not to the county.