COURTHOUSE – There are only a couple of days left for drive-through personal property assessment appeals that help many folks save on car tax, but Revenue Commissioner Phil Kellam said citizens can still have their car looked at after the annual program ends.
Even after Friday, June 5, when the tax is due, Kellam said people can still visit his office to see whether they can save on their bill. That said, it still needs to be paid on time.
“If you don’t get [the drive-through assessment] done, or if you already paid the tax, you can come by and we’ll check it,” Kellam said. “But you have to pay that tax by the fifth.”
On a recent day, revenue investigators and agents worked outside in the heat, checking vehicle after vehicle in a lot across North Landing Road from City Hall.
Tim Lee, revenue agent supervisor for the office, said the program helps citizens appeal assessments that may be calculated across a group of vehicles. He said agents visually inspect the vehicle, checking its overall condition, inside and mileage.
A program that started with Kellam in 1999, has progressed from 400 vehicles per year to about 450 per day.
In the afternoon, the agents had already seen 467 cars.
“And we’re lined to the corner,” said Maggie Blynn, a revenue investigator. “We’ll probably do 500 cars today.”
Lee estimated that they might inspect between 8,000 to 10,000 cars this year.
Das Huertas of the Holland Pines neighborhood dropped by in a 2001 Honda Accord to have it inspected. He is a fan of the program, which he heard about from a friend.
“Oh, yes,” Huertas said. “A lot. I own four cars, and they’re all old.”
He was looking at a $55 tax bill when he came in. Kelvin Sealy, a revenue agent, gave the vehicle a look, noting paint damage, dings and so forth.
“OK, sir,” Sealy said, when the appeal was done. “That brought the bill down to zero.”
“Zero,” Huertas said.
Before he drove away happy, he laughed, and added:
“Maybe I’ll go to dinner or buy groceries.”