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Chatham residents should verify county tax rate on vehicle registrations

Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - Several Chatham County residents have reported receiving vehicle registration renewals from the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that incorrectly identify their county for the billing of vehicle property taxes. Cases reported thus far indicate that residents would have overpaid and another county would have received the tax revenues.

“We are aware of several vehicle owners in the Briar Chapel area that have reported this problem, with Orange County shown as the vehicle’s location,” said Commissioner Vice Chairman Brian Bock, who lives in that area. “But, it may be happening in other areas of Chatham County, especially where we have new construction.”

Orange County has a substantially higher property tax rate at 87.8 cents, compared to Chatham County’s property tax rate of 62.19 cents. Similarly, Durham County also has a higher tax rate at 79.31 cents and also would cause overpayment.

“Besides possible overpayment by some residents, Chatham County government would lose the tax revenues,” said Commissioner Chairman Walter Petty. “County staff continues to work with DMV to identify and correct the county designations and related issues as soon as possible.”

Until 2013, counties tax offices across the state handled the billing and collection of vehicle property taxes. At that time, a new state law shifted the tax billing to DMV. The vehicle being assigned to the wrong county is not a new issue, but since DMV now collects the tax, residents don't receive a tax bill from the other county. “The mistake may not be as obvious to the taxpayer since the county is now just listed on the registration renewal,” said County Tax Administrator Frances Wilson.

In the meantime, Chatham residents should review their DMV registration renewal information closely to verify that the correct county is listed and the applied tax rate is Chatham County’s rate of 62.19 cents plus the fire district tax or town tax for their location. If your county designation is wrong, you can correct the problem by contacting DMV at 919-814-1779, unless you have a temporary tag. Those with temporary tags will have to visit a License Plate Agency, such as the agency located in Siler City Town Hall.

However, if the DMV registration mailing shows the wrong fire district or town location inside Chatham, you may contact the Chatham County Tax Office at 919-542-8250 to request a correction.

“We wish that we could fix all of the issues at the County Tax Office, but some of this is out of our hands,” said Wilson.

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