Bill linking property tax, license renewals advances in North Carolina

| Monday, August 15, 2005

The North Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would let vehicle owners pay their property taxes and license tag renewals at the same time.

Senators voted Aug. 11 to send the bill to the House for final approval before going to Gov. Mike Easley’s desk.

Sponsored by Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, the measure is intended to cut down on delinquent tax payments and help cities and counties collect about $80 million a year in taxes that go unpaid.

The bill – HB1779 – would require the Division of Motor Vehicles and the North Carolina Department of Revenue to develop an integrated computer system by summer 2009 so that vehicle property-tax bills and registration-renewal forms could be mailed out together.

Folwell recently told the Winston-Salem Journal that the bill should save cities and counties $8 million a year by reducing the number of past-due notices sent out.

However, DMV officials told the General Assembly’s fiscal staff that reworking the department’s computer systems to accommodate joint billing could cost over $300 million, the newspaper reported.

Legislative analysts noted that DMV computer software will need to be rewritten in the next few years anyway.

To help finance the new system, Folwell’s bill would raise $6.7 million a year from interest charges on unpaid local property-tax bills.

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