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.

NCVTS Demystified: A Behind the Scenes Look at What’s Been Happening So Far

demystified

You have, no doubt, heard of HB1779 by now. Various agencies around the state have been talking about it since 2005. And, while it may seem like there hasn’t been much going on until recently, there has been quite a bit happening behind the scenes.

Before we go too far into this discussion, I’ll first introduce you to a brief history of HB1779 and the decision to develop a new motor vehicle tax system.

House Bill 1779 became law in 2005. The primary goal of this new legislation was to create a Combined Notice that would allow motor vehicle property taxes and vehicle registration renewals to be collected simultaneously, thus saving NC taxpayers on the expense of duplicate mailings and improving motor vehicle tax collection rates.

It soon became evident that a new motor vehicle system would be necessary to carry out this mission. NCDOT selected Farragut Systems to create this new system, now known as the NC Vehicle Tax System (NCVTS).

This ongoing project, often called the “Tag and Tax Together Program”, represents a historic collaboration between NCDOT, NCDOR, NCDMV, NCLM, NCACC, Farragut, and representatives from county tax offices around the state.

Deployment, Power Users, & UAT

Over the last few months, NCVTS has gone through a series of “deployment” tests.

During each of these deployment tests a special group of county users has tested the system functionality with the goal of spotting and correcting any possible defects early, while offering insight and feedback on how to make the system best meet the needs of county users. This special group of county users has come to be called the NCVTS Power Users.

Thanks to the extensive testing and dedication of the NCVTS Power Users, NCVTS has taken shape as a high-functioning, yet user-friendly new vehicle tax system.

Another benefit of the deployment testing is that NCVTS Power Users have become experts on using the system. As Jazmin McGee, Mecklenburg IT Business Analyst and NCVTS Power User, puts it, “There is always fear of new software, but testing helped (us) users become more familiar with the system and feel more comfortable using it. It was also an opportunity for those who were unfamiliar with a similar system to see how it looks and works, to eliminate fear of the unknown”.

The final state of deployment testing known as the User Acceptance Test (UAT), wrapped up in mid-January. This formal analysis of the new system gave the NCVTS Power Users a chance to see how the system would operate under normal usage with real county data.

Deployment testing helped me realize how much easier the new system will be compared to the one we use now”, says Linda Davis, Personal Property Specialist with Union County and NCVTS Power User. “I think it’s going to be a lot easier and don’t think the billing process will take as long. When you are working in a queue on your abstracts, you can process more than one vehicle at the same time when they have the same year, make, and model – which is a big time-saver”.

NCVTS Training Seminars

With development in its final stages, the focus of the project started to shift toward training more than 300 users from across all 100 NC counties.

Farragut and the NCDOT worked together to design a two-day training seminar that would allow for some hands-on experience while covering the most important concepts involved in using the new system. All trainees were provided with a packet of information and a NCVTS training guide.

Training officially kicked off the week of February 11th and has continued for the past four weeks, with the last training date ending on March 13th.

I’m pleased with how the system works. If you have ever worked with vehicle tax you could sit down and work the system” says Hosea Wilson, Tax Administrator for Bertie County who attended a NCVTS training session during the first week of training.

Data Validation

Farragut’s data team has been hard at work loading data sent from each county’s legacy vehicle tax system into NCVTS. After training is complete, the next crucial step in ensuring that implementation goes smoothly is to verify that each county’s data has been received correctly.

Data validation is the formal name for the process which will allow users to access NCVTS and verify that their data has been successfully migrated into the system. Much like a movie preview before the main release, they will get the chance to see their county’s data in the system, review it, and test it for accuracy before the big debut.

Data validation will also give users additional experience with the system over a two-day time frame. Data validation began February 18th and will last through March 15th.

Support Prior to Go-Live

In the weeks leading up to April 1st Farragut will be offering more support through a series of educational opportunities. These include webinars, weekly updates posted online, Newsletters, and emails on topics that will keep NCVTS functionality sharp in the minds of county users.

The synergy and enthusiasm surrounding NCVTS development and testing has been outstanding and as we now move forward to the final stages of the project it’s clear that all of the effort will pay off with a new vehicle tax system that saves taxpayers money while improving the workloads of county tax offices.

*Special thanks to Jazmin McGee, Linda Davis, and Hosea Wilson for their time and contribution to this article.