POSTED: Saturday, December 29, 2012 - 5:35pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 30, 2012 - 10:04pm
If you're planning on claiming your property tax on your 2012 federal income taxes, you must pay your property tax bill balance by Monday, December 31st.
You can access your taxes on the Smith County website, www.smith-county.com 
The tax office will offer free payment by electronic check for the first time, which is convenient for taxpayers and it saves on fees and charges.
Property tax bills are due upon receipt. The deadline for payment is Jan. 31.
The tax office accepts cash, check, money order or credit card, debit card and electronic check payment.
If you wait to pay your penalties begin at 7 percent on Feb. 1 and increase 2 percent per month until it reaches 15 percent in June. In July, penalties continue to escalate in 1 percent increments with an additional 15 percent collection fee.
If you plan to wait to claim your property tax until 2013, you may be out of luck if the powers that be don't reach a Fiscal Cliff deal in time.
Tax professional Maureen Parkhill tells KETK, " "If you don't pay them, you can deduct them in 2013, but one of the items on the table in congress to eliminate is the deduction for real estate taxes so if you don't pay them by December 31st that's monday night, then you could potentially lose that deduction forever."