Deadline nears for high mileage tax discount

MILFORD – Caroline County Commissioner of Revenue Sharon Carter is seeking to remind citizens that Feb. 1 is the deadline for filing for the county’s new high mileage discount for personal property taxes on motor vehicles.

All individual and business personal property tax forms must be received by the commissioner or postmarked no later than Feb. 1 or else a 10 percent penalty will be charged.

Late last year the Board of Supervisors approved of a discount for vehicles with over 100,000 miles. The mileage must be verified by the owner’s latest state inspection receipt; a copy of the receipt, which has the odometer reading, must be provided to Carter’s office.

An estimated 27,000 vehicles in Caroline qualify for the high mileage discount. However, while addressing the Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on Tuesday night last week, Carter expressed concern that not all the owners know about the discount or understand that a copy of the inspection receipt is required.

Carter’s office also will accept a copy of the vehicle title or registration, documents that also show the odometer reading.

Personal property assessors will not leave the office to go outside and look in someone’s car in order to verify the mileage on the odometer, Cater made clear.

“After all avenues have been exhausted to locate or obtain the documents, they will need to speak directly to me or with the deputy commissioner in charge of personal property,” she said via e-mail.

Garages that perform state inspections may have computer records of the inspection and the vehicle’s mileage at the time. “If you got your car inspected here, I can pull up the inspection form on the computer and print it again if you give me the number that is on the state inspection sticker,” said Tim Lewis, owner of Caroline Garage in Bowling Green.

The high mileage discount does not apply to motorcycles, motor homes, large trucks or trailers.

The discount was part of a move to go to a system of prorating the collection of personal property taxes. In previous years, someone could buy a vehicle or bring it to Caroline after Jan. 1 and wouldn’t have to pay any personal property taxes on it until the following year. Starting Jan. 1 of this year, any vehicle that a county resident brings into the county must be reported to the commissioner’s office within 60 days or else a 10 percent late filing penalty will be charged.

The prorating system is expected to generate an extra $600,000 in annual revenue for the financially troubled county.

Carter also mentioned that March 1 is the deadline for Caroline homeowners to file for the elderly and handicapped real estate tax relief program. The program, for homeowners who are 65 or older or who are totally disabled, can reduce real estate taxes.

To qualify for the tax relief program, household income may be no more than $35,000 and assets no more than $85,000 – minus the value of the house and up to 10 acres of property.

Supervisor Reginald Underwood expressed concern that not enough elderly taxpayers are getting the discount. “They work all their life and now they have to go into their retirement fund to pay taxes,” he said.

Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 9:53 am