State Appraisals And Your Car Taxes

Each year, all of us here in North Carolina pay taxes on our vehicles and part of how much you pay is determined by how much your vehicle is worth.

WITN reached out to the Department of Motor Vehicles to see how the process works. Our Gina DiPietro was directed to John Farthing. Farthing is the President and CEO of TEC Data Systems, the contractor the state uses for vehicle appraisals.

Each time a licensed dealer sells a vehicle they must report it to the DMV. Farthing says TEC Data Systems uses roughly 1,000,000 vehicle sales each year and then takes the median selling price for each make and model.

Keep in mind, though, they only use retail prices. They do not factor in private party sales.

"I think it's kind of something to really look at, to really analyze you know," says Pitt County resident Samuel Yates Jr.

Gina's car was valued by the state at $4,020. She then took her vehicle to Discount Auto, Inc. to see what a dealership would appraise it at.

General Manager Bill Anderson took a look at the car and appraised it between $2,500 and $3,000. While Anderson says it's not always accurate, we also checked the Kelley Blue Book value and that was right around $2,700. In each case, a pretty big difference from the state's appraisal.

"Typical for the government. You know it's going to be in their favor," says Pitt County resident Wyatt Fountain.

WITN requested a phone interview with the DMV, but was again directed to Farthing with TEC Data Systems. Farthing declined both an on-camera and phone interview, but did say their appraisal is what the vehicle retails for.

We checked with Anderson and he said after paying between $2,500 and $3,000 for Gina's car, he would try to sell it for about $4,200.

If you think you're paying too much, you do have the right to appeal to the Tax Accessor. We called the office in Pitt County and was told it's free and that you don't need an appointment.