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The ‘Tax Lady’ – Town employee earns reputation for patience, tax knowledge

By Susan Agee

Sycilla Payne works in Collierville’s Finance Department doing sales tax reports and reconciling accounts, amongst other things.

However, a few years ago she worked in the property tax division of the same department, and due to her patience and compassion with some elderly residents who needed help, Payne became known and loved as “The Tax Lady.

“It’s a title she can’t seem to shake.“Sometimes I get recognized and stopped at Walmart,” said Payne. “I don’t mind.” 

Tax freeze, tax relief, wheel tax rebate, quarterly payment plan – there are property tax relief programs for the elderly, but sometimes the details and the deadlines can be difficult to understand. 

During her time in the property tax division, Payne took the time to explain details to some older residents, and they have never forgotten that kindness. 

Even though she no longer works in that division, certain residents ask for her, “The Tax Lady”, when they come in to pay their bill. 

Payne said she understands; when people make a connection and establish a relationship, they don’t want to let that go.

Especially when it’s over something as complicated as taxes and as precious as are the fixed incomes of the elderly.

“I hope that when I get older someone will have the patience and take the time to help me when I need it,” said Payne.  

Meanwhile, Payne will take the calls and listen to the stories of the older residents she has come to know. 

She feels honored when she’s pulled away from her desk to fill a role she left a few years ago, just so someone who is a little older and maybe a little unsure can see a familiar face and be reassured that his or her business is being handled the correct way.

“I guess as long as I am at the Town of Collierville, I will be known as ‘The Tax Lady’,” said Payne 

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