If you’ve applied for an assistance program with the Department of Revenue, don’t be surprised if you receive a text message about your Owner Occupied Payment Agreement, or OOPA. Our law department has launched an SMS texting service to communicate with taxpayers who have applied for –or are currently enrolled in– an OOPA. An OOPA is a payment agreement for homeowners having trouble paying their Real Estate Tax debt.
We originally launched the SMS text messaging service to alert taxpayers of their OOPA application status during the COVID-19 health emergency. Lisa Bender works for the Real Estate Tax Collection Unit within our Law Department, and has been leading this new program. We talked to her to learn more about it.
Why did the Department of Revenue decide to start using text messages for OOPAs?
There are a few reasons. The first is that OOPAs are very important in keeping taxpayers in compliance. Communicating with us quickly can make the difference between saving or losing your home. The second reason is that we’re working hard to keep up with advances in technology. Texting is how a lot of people communicate these days, and Revenue wants to be a part of it. Finally, texting is a secure and inexpensive way to reach you.
How can people sign up to receive text messages about their payment agreement?
Each of our OOPA applications contains an opt–in box that taxpayers can select if they’d like to receive text messages from us. You’ll find this same option on all of our payment assistant applications as well.
What kind of information will the law department be sharing via text message?
For now, we’re alerting you about:
- The status of your OOPA application, and a
- Allowing you to reinstate your OOPA agreement through appeals.
Very soon, we plan to reach out to taxpayers who’ve submitted an inquiry to the Law Department about their current or prior Real Estate Tax payments. In the future, we may send information to taxpayers to inform them of the benefits of an OOPA or let them know if they’ve missed a payment.
We may also text the taxpayer about foreclosure hearings.
Will this SMS text messaging service be used by other Department of Revenue units?
We are testing this service within our law department first. But we are planning to make text message communication available in other units within Revenue in the future.
Can a taxpayer ‘opt out’ of the text messaging service once they’ve begun receiving messages?
Yes, the taxpayer can simply reply ‘STOP” if they no longer wish to receive the messages. They can also reply ‘UNSTOP’ in the same thread to resume.
The text messaging service is a pilot program. We appreciate your patience as we work to implement and improve these communications. You can visit our payment plans page to learn more about payment agreements.