Tax collections in Sampson County are up slightly over last year, which the county’s tax administrator attributed to a transition to a statewide tag and tax system that has paid dividends for motor vehicle tax revenue.
Annually, the tax administrator must provide a settlement of taxes for the previous fiscal year before being charged with the collection of the current year taxes. According to N.C. General Statute, after July 1 and before being charged with collection of taxes for the current fiscal year, a preliminary report on the previous fiscal year must be reported to the governing board.
Tax administrator Jim Johnson offered his report at the Sampson Board of Commissioners meeting Monday. The board subsequently accepted the tax settlement.
The tax settlement for the 2014 tax year — the outstanding taxes still due — is $1,185,602.87.
“By way of comparison, the tax settlement last year at this time was $1,507,821.46,” Johnson noted. “So we have about $322,000 less in the tax settlement this year than we did the previous year. That’s primarily due to the fact that the motor vehicle (tax) collections have been passed on to the State of North Carolina.”
Previously, when the counties were collecting tax on motor vehicles, the statewide collection hovered around 85 percent. Now, due to the new Tag & Tax collection system, which combines a North Carolina vehicle’s registration fees and property taxes into one renewal notice payable through the Department of Motor Vehicles, that collection rate is now “over 99.5 percent,” Johnson attested.
“It’s been a tremendous boost to the revenue for Sampson County and the other counties in the state as well,” the tax administrator stated.
It’s also been a boost to the overall tax collection rate. The county finished the 2014-15 fiscal year with a 96.92 percent collection rate, which surpassed last year’s figure.
“We were trying to get to 97 percent for the year,” said Johnson, who noted the 2014-15 rate was still up nearly a percentage point from the prior year. “Last year, we finished at 96.14 percent. So the tax collection is up a little bit from last fiscal year.”
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.