Check vehicle tax bills, says Davidson tax admin

Some taxpayers assessed wrong city tax
Feb. 11, 2014 @ 12:05 PM

There’s bit of a glitch in the new tag and tax law, but the Davidson County Tax Office is prepared to make it right.

Under the law, enacted in 2005 and effective July 1, vehicle owners must pay vehicle property taxes when it’s time to buy or renew a license tag. To help tax offices transition, the state employed a software company to ensure all tax bills were processed, said Davidson County Tax Administrator Joe Silver.

Here’s the glitch — if the address listed in the software does not match exactly the address in the tax office, by default the highest municipal tax rate in the county will be assessed on the vehicle tax bill.

“Prior to the this new law, we were averaging about 10 errors per month out of approximately 13,000 monthly bills mailed,” he said.  “Now we are averaging around 70 per month.”

In Davidson County, the city of Lexington has the highest municipal rate. 

“Therefore, if we had an address of 2109 E. Hwy. 64, Lexington, N.C., it would not match the address that the software program had of 2109 East Highway 64. This mismatched address would then have the city of Lexington tax rate on it.”

Silver and his department are ready to fix it.

“What I would like to do is inform our Davidson County citizens that if they get a motor vehicle bill to renew or buy a tag and it has a tax rate for the city of Lexington, and they don’t live inside the city, please contact our office before you buy or renew your plate and pay the tax bill.

“We will be able to correct the tax bill.”

If the taxpayer pays the bill with the incorrect tax rate, they may seek a refund, but there is a time limit.

“When an error does occur and they pay the bill to the tag office, they will have to come by the  Davidson County tax office and request a refund.  Then it takes from four to six weeks before they will receive their refund.

“N.C. law states that they only have 30 days to request this refund.”

Silver advises taxpayers not to wait until the last minute.

“Just in case there may be an error in what the tax bill mailed to you by DMV states as compared to what the tag office is showing, it would be expedient that the owner of the motor vehicle does not wait until the last date to go get their tag,” he cautioned.

Silver encourages taxpayers to check their bills for the proper fire district, correct address and the correct city tax rate, if applicable.

The tag and tax law was enacted to increase vehicle tax collections. Many states handle renewals this way, and North Carolina was one of the last to change.

With about 8.5 million registered vehicles in the state, the DMV has estimated it will save $2 million a year in postage.

Key facts about the program:

• The program is for the vehicle property tax only and does not affect mortgage or home property tax.

• Your county vehicle tax will be due at the same time your vehicle registration is due. The due date will be printed on the new renewal notice you receive in the mail.

• Your vehicle’s annual registration renewal fees will remain the same. The increase in your bill is from the addition of the vehicle property tax.

Want more info?

To make a correction on your vehicle tax bill, call the Davidson County Tax Office at 242-2160 or visit at 913 Greensboro St. in Lexington.