Returned Checks

Overview
Effective February 1, 2009, checks returned for any reason will NOT be deposited a second time by the Tax Collector's Office.  This includes non-sufficient funds or NSFs, stop payments, etc.

What Happens Next?
After your check is returned:

  • The payment for which the returned check was written will be reversed in the Tax Collector’s system and the taxes will show as if no payment had ever been received.
  • If the payment reversal is done after the delinquent date, all taxes, late-payment penalties, and costs will apply to the account as well as the $85.00 service charge.
  • A corrected tax bill will be mailed to the assessee showing the returned check fee, and any late-payment penalties, or costs that may have accrued.
  • The returned check becomes the sole property of the Contra County Tax Collector's Office. A copy of the returned check is available only upon request in-person at:

     
                    Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office
                    625 Court Street, Room 100
                    Martinez , CA 94553

     

  • The $85.00 service charge must be paid at the same time as the property taxes for which the original check was intended.
  • The tax bill must be paid within 30 days to avoid further collection actions.
  • All communication protesting or contesting the validity of a bad check claim must be made in writing and sent to:

     
                    Treasurer-Tax Collector's Office
                    Attn: Return Check Division
                    PO Box 631
                    Martinez, CA 94553-0063

Keep in Mind...
The best strategy to ensure your check payment clears is to have funds (sufficient to cover the outstanding check) available in your bank account before remittance.

Do not try to postpone when your check becomes negotiable by putting a future date on it. Your check will go to the bank on the next business day, regardless of the date.

If you reported checks as lost or stolen, your bank will not honor them. In this case, making a second attempt to deposit is pointless and the checks may be returned to the Tax Collector’s Office sooner.

Please do not expect us to locate and hold a check from among the hundreds we process every day.

NOTE: California Civil Code section 1719 allows the receiver of a bad check to recover three times the amount of the check, up to $1500, in civil courts. The damages are in addition to collecting the value of the check and they could include court and mailing costs. A cause of action under this law may be brought in small claims court, if the claim does not exceed $5,000, or in any other court of jurisdiction depending on the amount of the transaction.