Clerk Advises Against Crossing County Lines to Avoid Wheel Tax

May 11, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Clayborn

If you live in a county that requires a wheel tax, you can't legally cross county lines to renew your car tags where the tax is not applied.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn said the Department of Revenue is asking counties to monitor this closer."Revenue is watching for several things. For instance, we have a lot of folks that come from some of our surrounding counties that have a wheel tax. They want to come in here (DeKalb County) and get their tag because we don't have MARTA (emission regulations) and we don't have a wheel tax. The state and counties are watching this. We have been instructed by Revenue that if we knowingly renew a tag or do a registration on a vehicle that's sold by somebody else besides a dealer, we put our jobs in jeopardy. We've been provided with a 911 (address) book. If we have a question, we look in it. If it's in DeKalb County we do it, if it's not we don't", said Clayborn

What about persons who reside outside the county but have a local address? "The problem you run into with this is we have some people who live in Warren County that have a Smithville address, also Wilson County, and Smith County. They (those counties) all have a wheel tax. Just because it says Smithville, Alexandria (on your address), does not mean that you live in DeKalb County. You must renew your tag in the county where you reside. A residence is a place where you spend 80% of your time. There's been more tickets written for this. Your registration and your license should be the same. If you have a Snow Hill address on your license, there should be a Snow Hill address on your registration. If not, you could get a ticket," said Clayborn

On another issue, Clayborn explained the law pertaining to giving an automobile to a relative. "Most folks know that if you give a car to a lineal relative, there's no taxes (applied). Now, you can give a car to a lineal relative without taxes being applied, but now they (state) require that you have an affidavit filled out and signed (stating) that there's no money changing hands," said Clayborn.

Clayborn further explained that "If you're out there and you have a car for sale and you're going to sell that car to somebody, on the back of your title this is what you'll find. It's says signature of seller, printed name of seller, date of sale, and sale price. If you're the seller, it's your responsibility to fill all those out. What that means is, if I sold you a $10,000 car and I (seller) didn't put that in there and you (buyer) came in and you'd written in $5,000, I (seller) could be held liable just like you because I didn't do what I was supposed to do. Folks who are selling cars need to know this. So you need to fill out the back of that title. If you don't know the people you're selling the car to, the best thing to do is come up here (clerk's office) and let us show you what to do because this has happened over and over again. People will sell a car and not make the buyer put their name on there. That's an open title as far as the state is concerned and that's against the law. So if you want to sell your car, fill out your part, and make them put their name in there. If you have any questions or concerns about it come up here and we'll help you with it and get it done right", said Clayborn.

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