The Director of Revenue (Tax Collector) must ensure that all taxes are collected as required by North Carolina law. Upon receipt of the annual tax levy, the collection process begins with the issuance of property tax notices. For the majority of the property, the taxes are payable at par from September 1 through January 5 of each year. On January 6 - January 31, 2% interest is charged. Beginning February 1, 0.75% is added each month thereafter until the account is paid in full. The interest penalty amounts to 10.25 percent for the first year of unpaid taxes and a total of 9 percent for each year thereafter until paid. If taxes are not paid, the taxpayer's real and/or personal property may be seized, sold and the proceeds applied to the outstanding taxes. If the taxpayer is employed, his employer may be required to withhold 10% of his gross earnings to pay the taxes. In addition, other enforcement remedies including foreclosure of the real property may be initiated to collect the taxes.
To aid in the collection process, Gaston County uses an efficient lockbox collection system in which all mail-in payments are mailed directly to the bank and are processed daily. The County is given immediate credit for all processed payments. Approximately sixty percent of our tax bills are processed by the lockbox system yearly.
Registered Motor Vehicles
Effective January 1, 1993, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted General Statute 105-330, which substituted the actual registration of motor vehicle for the listing of vehicles for tax purposes. This in effect eliminated the owner’s duty to list the registered vehicle with the county. At the same time, the law required that all counties collect the taxes for both the county and all municipalities and districts within the county. As a result, Gaston County collects registered vehicle taxes for 13 municipalities and 19 fire districts.
If the property owner fails to pay the tax on a registered vehicle, the county shall issue a “Tag Block” to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the DMV will refuse to renew the license plate until the taxes are paid and proof of payment is provided. In the first month a tax bill becomes delinquent, interest in the amount of 5% accrues. On the first day of each month following the date in which a tax becomes delinquent, an additional 0.75 % is added. If the tax remains unpaid, the county may seize a motor vehicle, sell it at auction and apply the proceeds to any unpaid personal or real estate tax.
A New Vehicle Assessment and Collection System
A new State-wide vehicle billing system under NCGS 105-330, scheduled to become effective after July 1, 2013, will change the current vehicle system by including the property tax along with the annual registration notice. The owner will have to pay both the property tax and registration fee to obtain a new registration. This provision will be a more efficient system by eliminating additional mailings and will ensure that every property owner pays the property tax on a registered vehicle. The new law will ensure equity because everyone will pay his fair share and that will increase the county’s collection rate on registered vehicles.