Lines are expected to be long at the Brown County Appraisal District today as the deadline for paying this year’s property taxes without penalty arrives.

“A lot of people wait until the last minute, and I can’t blame them,” Chief Appraiser Doran Lemke said Tuesday. “It doesn’t cost any more today than it did last week, or last month. But it will be 7 percent more on Thursday morning. That’s the tax code, and it’s pretty severe.”

Lemke said the tax office at 403 Fisk in Brownwood will be open until 4:30 p.m. today for walk-ins.

“We’ve had a busy week, but it’s running pretty smooth,” Lemke said. “But we’re probably going to have some long lines on Wednesday.”

Tax notices were mailed in October, Lemke said, and a return envelope was included. Many taxpayers are taking advantage of that and mailing in their payments.

“Those return envelopes have helped a lot,” Lemke said. “As long as the envelopes are postmarked on Wednesday, the payment is not considered late, no matter when it is received.”

Mail is not the only option available for taxpayers who want to avoid today’s long lines, Lemke said. The tax office doesn’t have a credit card machine available, but it has made arrangements to accept credit card payments through a service available through a toll-free number. That phone number is (800) 272-9829, and the Brown County code needed is 6324. Anyone who doesn’t remember the amount of taxes due can look that up on the appraisal district’s Web site, www.brown-cad.org, and click on to property search on the right side of the page.

“There are lots of options,” Lemke said. “We’ve tried to make this as convenient and painless as possible. We will probably have some lines on Wednesday, but we’ll get to everyone as fast as we can.”