BELIZE CITY, Wed. April 1, 2015–In an effort to move away from manual payment methods, which often result in long lines of disgruntled customers, the Belize City Council (CitCo) has teamed up with Atlantic Bank to provide a real-time Property Tax and Trade License online payment feature.
As a result, taxpayers in the commercial capital are now able to log onto either CitCo’s or Atlantic Bank’s websites and meet their tax obligations using a credit card effective today, April 1.
According to Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, not only are the automated services geared towards making governmental services easier for city residents to access, but these services will also serve as an option for Belizeans living abroad who had been clamoring for an alternative tax payment mechanism.
After a step-by-step demonstration of this automated payment method, Atlantic Bank’s Electronic Banking Manager, Pedro Lozano, spoke about the security protocols of the new service.
He said, “All this transaction is done in a secure environment that – as we say in our jargon – is PCI/DSS compliant, which means it meets the data security standards that are internationally required by us. So you can feel rested that what you are doing there is fully secure. No one will see it or have access to it.”
“If you are on the other side, as for the corporate customers who are paying using their online account, their interface is fully encrypted, hence no one would be able to take your file and to do any mischief or use your funds that you have with us,” he further explained.
“This is done in real time, so for those people who do it using their bank accounts, they can go in [to the bank] and check and you will notice your bank account has been debited and sent into an account for the Belize City Council that they can access,” Lozano said.
To carry out online payments, customers need a credit card, their tax number, and the customer number available on their CitCo bill.
The process can be completed by going to CitCo’s website, dragging down the “WEB” menu on the far right, and scrolling down to “Property Tax and Trade Online Payment”, which connects the customer to the Atlantic Bank bill payment portal.
Users can also process payments directly through the Atlantic Bank website or via cash at the three Atlantic Bank branches in Belize City.
Property taxes – which are collected annually by the start of the Council’s new financial year in April – are the single largest source of revenue for the Council, reported at approximately $9 million in the last financial year audited, which is double the amount of revenue collected by the Traffic Department.
Trade license fees, on the other hand, are collected every December.
The Council already offers optional renewal of drivers’ licenses online, and Mayor Bradley is hoping that also having the hassle-free option to meet property tax and trade license obligations online will play a significant role in improving the Council’s revenue base.