One of the leading strategic goals of the North Carolina Department of Revenue is to provide residents with the tools necessary to file their taxes in an efficient and compliant manner. The department continually reviews collection practices, and when possible, the department strives to implement programs that can improve historically burdensome filing procedures. On July 1, 2013, North Carolina launched the “Tag and Tax Together” initiative that integrates an individual’s vehicle property tax assessment with the annual vehicle registration fee.
Previously, vehicle tax assessments and registration fees often operated on different calendar cycles. As a result, taxpayers were subject to separate tax and fee obligation notices during the year. To simplify the process for taxpayers, the North Carolina Department of Revenue has partnered with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles to develop a new program that allows taxpayers to pay both the tax and fee in one transaction.
Moving forward, when an automobile owner receives a registration renewal notice from the DMV, included in the notice will be the standard “tag fee,” as well as a statement of the applicable county vehicle property taxes due. Upon receipt of the full payment, the taxpayer will receive a new registration card and license plate sticker for the upcoming year.
The goal of this initiative is three-fold:
First, by combining the obligations into one payment, taxpayers are presented with a simplified process, allowing them to satisfy their registration and tax obligations in one transaction.
Secondly, the integration allows for more efficient oversight of non-compliant taxpayers. Our ability to quickly and accurately view an individual’s tax status will ensure that all North Carolina residents are in compliance before they can legally operate their vehicles.
Third, the “Tag and Tax Together” program guarantees that local counties are receiving the requisite vehicle property tax revenue. The DMV is responsible for not only receiving all funds, but also for working with local governments to ensure timely, predictable payment schedules are established.
As counties across North Carolina continue to face budgetary constraints and shortfalls, the “Tag and Tax Together” initiative provides a value-added tool in the effort to achieve comprehensive compliance. This policy aligns directly with the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s mandate to ensure tax laws are applied in an impartial, uniform and efficient manner.
As a department, we understand that tax laws and schedules can be both confusing and burdensome. With this in mind, we remain focused on implementing proactive measures which can simplify filing obligations and expedite the payment process. The “Tag and Tax Together” program represents a valuable example of how our agency is utilizing technological advancements and increased inter-departmental collaboration to help improve the filing experience for taxpayers.
Moving forward, our department will continue to analyze our internal processes and work hard to ensure that the citizens of North Carolina have a tax system that rewards compliance and is fair to all individuals.
Lyons Gray is the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue.