Why thousands of drivers in York County are getting unexpected car tax bills

Thousands of drivers in York County are now finding out they have unpaid car tax bills, and some go as far back as three years.

Channel 9′s South Carolina reporter Tina Terry uncovered that it all stems from a software issue with new car purchases.

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Amber Simpson bought her car in 2021 but just learned that she owes more than $700 in taxes to the county. She says she found the past due amount on her own late last year.

“I just happened to be going online and just looking at my information and that’s when I noticed it was a red ‘X’ and it bothered me because I was like, there’s no way I owe taxes. I had just paid taxes for September of 2023,” she said.

Simpson isn’t the only person this happened to. Channel 9 learned thousands of other people are impacted by this as well.

“I think we deserve to know an answer of what happened,” Simpson said.

In a statement sent to Channel 9, York County officials said:

“The York County Auditor ran an audit last year and discovered approximately 12,000-13,000 car tax bills that were unpaid going back to 2021. These unpaid bills apply only to the first year of ownership of a vehicle. This happened due to a change in how the county received documents of vehicle sales, and how that information was organized in our computer software. Our policies were changed when identified, and all issues were addressed in the summer of 2023.”

York County driver Sherry Herlihy said, “I would hope that it would be prevented in the future. They should look at their equipment and do audits at least every six months not years down the road and say, ‘Oops, my bad. You gotta pay this.’ That’s not fair.”

The county says 2,000-3,000 tax bills have been mailed out so far, and they are currently working to mail about 10,000 more of those late bills.

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