Establish a Relationship with Your Local LPA

license plate

As taxpayers arrive at their local License Plate Agency (LPA) to pay their first combined tag and tax bill, payment questions are bound to arise – especially for those who are not accustomed to paying their motor vehicle tax on time.

LPA staff members who are not trained in the areas of property tax assessment may have a difficult time explaining how military exemptions, vehicle condition, antique status, and high mileage can factor into the overall value of the total tax amount due.

When these questions arise, it is important that the LPA offices in your jurisdiction have a primary contact to reach out to in your tax office. This will ensure a more positive experience and impression of both your tax office and the new vehicle tax system.

It’s important to note that while the STARS system contains the main contact line for your county, this may not be the best option for a quick resolution of a taxpayer concern, especially if your voice service greets callers with an endless array of departments and directories.

The NCDOR recommends, instead, that you build a relationship with your local LPA. Provide them with the direct line to an individual in your office who has been appointed as the go-to person available to respond to all things “Tag and Tax” related – without having to go through a recording or reaching a voicemail.

This same line can be offered to those making payments at the LPA, who have questions about their tax bill, but do not require immediate assistance. Handing over a direct line to a live person will assist in putting taxpayers at ease.

Establishing relationships with your local LPA and providing easy-to-reach contacts will go a long way in helping taxpayers through the adoption of the new Tag and Tax system.

Gap Billing Reports Help Identify Missing Revenue

gap billing

Beginning July, 2013 a modified law goes into effect under the NC General Statutes, Article 22A, Chapter 105-330, essentially allowing counties to legally pursue and bill taxpayers for missing months of unpaid motor vehicle taxes – referred to as gap billing.

Gap billing occurs when a taxpayer renews his or her vehicle registration late with the DMV, resulting in the creation of a new renewal date and changing the tax year. For example, let’s say Jane D. Taxpayer fails to renew for 12 months and must now buy a new license plate. DMV starts the annual license plate renewal process over for the taxpayer, but what about the missing 12 months of taxes owed on that property?

Easily Identifying Gaps

The new vehicle tax system, NCVTS, aids county tax offices in identifying these billing gaps using a new feature called the Gap Billing Report. The purpose of this report is to identify all vehicles with expired registrations and outstanding motor vehicle tax.

The Gap Billing Report covers three cases:

  • Any vehicle that has not been paid in over a year
  • Any vehicle that did not have a new plate issued
  • Any vehicle where a new sticker or plate has been issued where it changes the renewal cycle

Collecting Missing Taxes

Once you have identified owners who have a gap in their tax payments, the modified statute allows for you to bill those vehicles as unregistered for that time period, just like any other personal property bill. These are billed outside of the vehicle tax system, but you can use the information gained from this report within NCVTS to help identify the tax payment gaps within your jurisdiction.

With modified statutes and the new technology available in NCVTS, you now have the tools to help you classify and collect on tax gaps!

To learn more about using the Gap Billing Report, please visit the NCPTS Customer Portal and view the PowerPoint and webinar recording titled County Reports Training or the NCVTS Gap Billing Report Tutorial.

5 Things You Should Do BEFORE You Call Your Power User

5 things

You are sure to have questions as you become familiar with using NCVTS. But, before you pick up the phone to call your local Power User, try these trouble-shooting steps first.

  1. Start by reviewing your NCVTS Training Guide

The training guide provides you with diagrams, data processes, and tips for understanding and navigating NCVTS. This handy guide combines the expertise from the NCDOR Training Team with the developers who designed the system to give you easy-to-follow steps for completing your most common business processes.

  1. Next, seek help from your fellow motor vehicle specialists within your office

The tax professionals working closely with you are often your best source of information. You may have an answer that they are looking for, and vice versa, so turn to those closest to you in order to come up with the right answers together, and you will often learn more in the process.

  1. Then, check out the NCVTS Customer Portal

The NCVTS Customer Portal will be your one one-stop site where you can access community forums, ask questions, read support documentation,  add suggestions, watch recorded webinars, and more! Plus, all 23 power users and the DOR Support Team will be monitoring the Ask a Question forum to answer your questions!

You can search, using keywords, on the topics that you are having trouble with and, more than likely, your questions will have already been asked and answered in the Ask a Question forum.

The NCVTS Customer Portal goes live on April 8th and we are hosting a webinar introducing the ins and outs of this site, and how to use it to meet your NCVTS needs.

  1. Review information from a related webinar on the NCVTS Customer Portal

Accessing recorded NCVTS Webinars on topics that you need extra help with, will allow you to review the material with a step-by-step walk through of the system right there on your screen! This is a great resource to answer many NCVTS questions that arise while working in the new system.

  1. Lastly, make sure you visit the Farragut Learning Center

Farragut’s Learning Center is the brand new hub for all property tax related info. Here you’ll find NCVTS resources, access to our monthly newsletter and blog articles, and numerous other tools.

Our NL and blog articles are packed full of tips and advice from your local property tax leaders and provide you with information and templates specific to North Carolina that will make your work life easier. You will also find copies of materials you received in training, including the NCVTS Quick Reference Guide.

If after trying these suggestions, your question hasn’t been answered, you should contact one of the Power Users within your Regional Tax Association area. The Power User you contact will then be glad to help you get the NCVTS answers you are looking for.

Please do remember that NCVTS Power Users are a great source of information and are on hand, ready and willing to help you when you get stuck while working within NCVTS. However, with 100 counties in NC using this system, and only 23 Power Users, we hope that you’ll first consider the alternate options mentioned above.

*To better assist you in getting your issues resolved, it is highly recommended that you follow this NCVTS User Support guide create by the NCDOR.

NCVTS Celebrates Two Important Milestones

ncvts celebrates

NCVTS celebrated some important milestones over the past two weeks, the completion of the NCVTS Training Seminars and the completion of NCVTS Data Validation.

Over the course of five weeks (beginning February 11th), 302 county tax office staff, representing all 100 NC counties, successfully completed the NCVTS training seminars in ten different locations around the state. During the two-day training seminars, county tax office staff got a first-hand look at the new vehicle tax system and learned the basics of processing vehicle records.

When asked to rate their confidence in using the system after attending the NCVTS Training Seminar, 9 out of 10 attendees said they were confident that they would be able to use NCVTS successfully.

As one trainee put it, “I thought the training went very, very well. <The trainers> were extremely knowledgeable about the topics and the NCVTS system. There was lots of time to ask questions and to review, and class participation was encouraged. The trainers went out of their way to make us feel comfortable with the system. Great Job!”

One of the most prevalent comments received during training was the need for more hands-on practice with NCVTS before it goes live. Farragut has since scheduled four NCVTS Module 2 Practice sessions between March 18th and March 27th. Each session lasts two days and gives participants the opportunity to practice the skills they learned in Module 2 of the NCVTS County User Training Guide.

Additional practice sessions will be scheduled in April to cover the billing functions in NCVTS.

Data validation was another important milestone reached Friday of last week. Data for all 100 counties is now loaded into NCVTS. 98 counties participated in one of 8 data validation sessions held between February 19th and March 15th. The data validation sessions gave participating counties a sneak peek at their vehicle data as it will appear in NCVTS and a chance to proactively identify and correct problems in their data before the system goes live.

During the course of the data validation sessions, many county participants had questions about how their data appeared. So, Farragut’s training team partnered with Tina Stone from the Department of Revenue to provide a special Q&A session on data validation March 20th.

With just seven business days to go before NCVTS goes live, much has already been accomplished during this historic partnership between state government, county government, and software vendor. All of the preparation, cooperation, and participation will deliver theirs rewards April 1st.

Get Your Computers Ready for NCVTS with this 4-Step Checklist

computer wheels

NCVTS is set to make the lives of tax office staff much simpler by automating and simplifying many of the tasks involved in collecting motor vehicle taxes. To ensure that you get the most out of your experience in using NCVTS, check with your IT department to make sure your computer system meets these minimum requirements for optimal performance.

Operating System

NCVTS operates best when using a computer that has Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7. Aren’t sure what operating system your computer has? Follow the steps below to find out.

  1. Open the Windows Run Dialog by pressing the Windows Key and the letter “R” at the  same time. The windows key looks like a flag and is usually located to the right of your CTRL key.
  2. Type MSINFO32.EXE and press Enter. The operating system name and version information will be displayed at the top of the System Summary listing.

Memory

For optimal performance, computers running NCVTS should have at least 1GB of memory, though 2GB or higher is recommended. To discover how much memory your system has, simply:

  1. Open the Windows Run Dialog with the key combination WinKey+R.
  2. Type MSINFO32.EXE and press Enter.
  3. Find the item labeled Total Physical Memory and verify that the value is equal to  or greater than 1GB.

Browser

NCVTS is a cloud-based software system. That means that all of the components that make it run are housed on the internet. To ensure the best experience with NCVTS, Farragut recommends that each user access the system using Internet Explorer 11 as their internet browser.

Most windows computers have Internet Explorer pre-installed on them and usually have a shortcut on the desktop screen. Depending on the age of your computer, though, you may not have the latest version of Internet Explorer. To check your version of Internet Explorer, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Windows Run Dialog with the key combination WinKey+R.
  2. Type IEXPLORE.EXE and press Enter.
  3. Open the Help Menu with the key combination Alt+H.
  4. Click on About Internet Explorer and verify that the version listed is either Internet Explorer 11. If it is less than 11, you may download the latest version here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/internet-explorer/download-ie

Network Speed

The speed of your internet connection will determine the speed with which you may navigate within NCVTS. So, it’s important to make sure that your internet connection is strong and steady.  We recommend a connection speed of at least 512 Kbps, though 2 Mbps or higher is preferred. To test your network speed, follow these easy steps.

  1. Open Internet Explorer and go to the following website: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
  2. This will open the Speakeasy Speed Test website. Click on the city icon for NEW YORK, NY to begin a speed test. After the test is complete, note the Download Speed results and verify that the value is at least 512Kbps.

 

*Edited to change version of Internet Explorer recommended. Microsoft is no longer doing support for any version before IE 11.