North Carolina governor signs bill linking property tax, license renewals

| 9/2/2005

Gov. Mike Easley has signed a bill into law allowing vehicle owners in North Carolina to pay their property taxes and license tag renewals at the same time, which could save truckers a trip to the courthouse – or a postage stamp at the very least.

The new law, previously HB1779, 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.

It requires 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.

The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, recently told the Winston-Salem Journal that the effort 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 $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, the new law is expected to raise $6.7 million a year from interest charges on unpaid local property-tax bills.