Apr 112017
City of San Diego Tax Collector

Steven Seamark | SafeBillPay.net

When you’re cutting close to a deadline and have to pay a government bill, you can’t always rely on a government bill pay website, especially when thousands or even millions of other people are trying to pay at the same time.

We all remember the Obamacare website debacle of October 2013, when Healthcare.gov – the Affordable Care Act’s official health insurance shopping website – launched. As millions of Americans flooded the website to shop for healthcare plans, the site crashed. This unfortunate debut left a sour taste in the mouths of Americans and destroyed Obamacare’s reputation.

More recently, the San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s website crashed just as the deadline for payment of property taxes approached. On April 10th, 2017, residents of San Diego were trying to pay their property tax bills online, through sdtreastax.com.

In California, property taxes are due twice a year, on November 1st and February 1st. For the February payments, the last day to pay without incurring penalties is April 10th.

As residents of San Diego hurried to make their payments online before the deadline, the Tax Collector’s website went down.

The problem was fixed later that day. One would think that bill pay websites would anticipate periods of high demand and increase server resources accordingly. I’m guessing that there is insufficient communication¬†between the people who process the payments and the IT department.

So if a deadline is coming up for an important payment, make alternative plans in case the online bill pay website is down. Don’t put all your eggs in one bill pay basket, or leave yourself enough time to pay the old fashioned way – by check, typically – if the bill pay website crashes.


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