From the Orlando Sentinel – Orlando, FL (March 18, 2014)
Michael W. Freeman, Clermont Forum Editor
CLERMONT — Usually a tax collector’s office aims mainly to do one thing: collect money from local businesses. Now Lake County’s Tax Collector’s Office is hoping to actually save businesses some money, by letting them make their payments online. The Lake County Tax Collector’s Office just introduced a new online service called TouristExpress.
David Jordan, the Tax Collector’s Office’s chief deputy, issued a release calling the new site a “win-win for taxpayers, which is our benchmark for determining success.” Even better, Jordan noted, the site is all about “allowing local business owners more time for doing what they do best — running their business.”
Until now, businesses needed to submit Tourist Development Tax payments and paper returns by mail. The introduction of TouristExpress allows those payments to be processed online through what Jordan said is a a secure web portal. Using this online system will save both the Tax Collector’s Office and the businesses in Lake County time and money, Jordan noted, and he estimated that local businesses and users could save up to $30 each time they use the program as opposed to mailing in payments.
“The program incorporates a system that is as efficient, as it is easy to use,” noted Robert Chandler, Lake County Economic Development & Tourism director, in a news release. Chandler said this new portal is having an impact for Lake County lodging establishments, and comes at the right time, as bookings are on the upswing. “With tourist development tax revenues up 8 percent in 2013, our local hoteliers are busier than ever, and I have no doubt that the TouristExpress program has played a role in their recent success,” Chandler noted.
Jordan added that this was a collaboration with the county tax system’s software vendor, Grant Street Group, “in order to streamline the tourist tax return process at no cost to the residents of Lake County.” Available 24 hours a day, Jordan said the portal is “a convenient, easy to use and a hassle-free way for businesses to report and remit Tourist Development Taxes.” To learn more or to register for the site, visit https://www.lake.county-taxes.com/tourist or call the Tax Collector’s Office at 352-253-2117.