I-Team: Is your car tax bill too high?

Steve Daniels and the I-Team show you how to save real money on your tax bill.
May 1, 2014 5:46:45 PM PDT
Jay Jones is a small business owner. You'll find him selling his Italian ice on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

Every dollar counts for Jones and that's why he contacted the I-Team about the property tax bill for his car.

"I'm pretty mad about my price, in my opinion, overvalued," he explained. "It's out of control in my opinion. It's ridiculous. It's not fair to anyone at all."

Jones' tax bill says the state's appraised value of his 2007 Ford Focus is $6,700 dollars. But he went online to Kelly Blue Book and discovered the trade-in value of his car is less than half that: $2,813.

Jones said to him that's the real value.

"These taxes make us - as consumers - mad at our government, because they're out of control," said Jones.

Right now, Jones' tax bill is $91.41. Based on the Kelly Blue Book value, his tax bill would be $51.67.

In Jones's mind, he's overpaying by almost $40.

"It makes no sense to me at all," he said. "But you know, that's the government for you. That's how it goes, but it shouldn't be that way."

Chad Anderson is a chiropractor in Kenansville. He's also frustrated with his tax bill. The state's appraised value for his 2009 GMC Acadia is $21,080. Based on Kelly Blue Book, he figures he'd only get about $14,097 if he sold it to a private party.

That means he's overpaying his Duplin County tax bill by $50.

"So I contacted the county and asked them to correct the error, and I was told that it was not an error. This is what the State had assessed the value of my car at," said Anderson.

North Carolina law says the true value of your car is what it sells for at a dealer.

"Dealerships survive off their used car lot.  This is where their profit is made because these are the vehicles that have the most markup on them. We are paying tax on an imaginary markup," said Anderson.

The I-Team went to the North Carolina Department of Revenue and spoke to the man in charge of dealing with the value of your car. David Baker admitted to me that even his own car is overvalued.

"My vehicle's overvalued only because I choose not to let someone know that my car has high mileage," said Baker - who said he still believes the state is getting its appraisals right.

Baker explained the state pays a Raleigh company called TEC Data Systems $500,000 a year to compile sales data from new and used car dealerships to come up with the value of your car.  I asked if people are paying too much and if he understands why some people are upset.

"I can understand why someone - there are people that think their values are too high - but whether they are or not, I can't answer that question," said Baker.

But Chad Anderson said he believes the state's formula is wrong.

"If you want to tax me, tax me, I live in your state, but your statutes need to support your taxation," he said.

Jay Jones said he can't wait to appeal his tax bill.

"I'm not buying my vehicle every year.  I own it outright, so tax me at its value," he said.

Here's what you need to do to figure out if you're paying too much tax on your car. Check the Blue Book value at KKB.com and then check your tax bill. If you're paying too much, call your county tax office and appeal.

You can only do it once a year and no later than 30 days after your tax bill is due.

After a long fight, Chad Anderson finally got his assessed value reduced by $4,200.

We get our best story ideas from people like Jay and Chad - our viewers. Click here to connect with me on Facebook if you have something for us to investigate.


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