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.

NCVTS: County Communication & Education

county communication

As the first combined notices are received this month, it will become even more important to effectively communicate the changes this notice brings about to the registered motor vehicle owners in your county.

Follow these quick tips to ensure a smooth transition for your county’s taxpayers.

Utilize Tag & Tax Together Advertising Material

The official NCDMV website is full of useful Tag & Tax Together material. But, your county tax office is likely the first stop for taxpayers looking for information on changes to their vehicle tax bill.

Cut down on office calls and questions by hosting the DMV provided materials on your site and by placing the information in a convenient, easy-to-access location in your office.

Include the following:

Promote the Vehicle Property Tax Estimator Tool

The Vehicle Property Tax Estimator tool has been released to the public to help vehicle owners, car dealers, and those who register their vehicles online to estimate their tax liability.  It works by calculating the property tax for individual vehicles based on their identification (including the VIN number, make, body style, and age) and the tax rate using the situs address.

Use this tool to your advantage and recommend it when assisting drivers in estimating and computing their vehicle property tax prior to the new bill arriving.

Include Advertising Materials in all County Correspondence

Include an insert or brochure that details the Tag & Tax Together Program changes and where to go online to find out more information with every correspondence letter and document that taxpayers in your jurisdiction receive.

Be sure to emphasize the positives of the combined payment. This includes boosting local revenues, streamlining the payment process of government fees, eliminating a step from government interactions, and reducing the current county costs of tax collection.

Also, be sure that the revised starting dates for receiving the combined notice are reflected in all of the advertising materials that are disbursed.

*For soft copies of additional advertising materials, contact the NCDMV: (919) 814-1779.

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.