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County goes tech with taxes

Beaufort County is getting technological with taxes.

In a 7-0 vote earlier this month, the Board of Commissioners passed a motion to allow business owners to list their assets online through its existing contract with SouthData, the company already handling the county’s tax invoice/statement services.

“This will essentially simplify, speed up and allow CPAs and businesses to list their assets electronically in which the tax office will in turn set the tax values appropriately and turn around those value settings faster more accurately and then be able to tax on those assets in a much more efficient manner,” said Michael May, SouthData’s district sales manager.

As an extension of the county’s current contract, it will cost the county only $1 per business that uses the option, while potentially freeing up tax office employees from receiving that data in person.

“It’s the equivalent of you doing self-service on an online format now, versus either calling up somebody or going into somebody’s office so it’s just driving people into an electronical format to do self-service which ultimately frees up staff members, which you have a limited capacity to have from a budget standpoint,” May told commissioners.

Commissioner Hood Richardson clarified that business taxpayers would not be forced to use the online system and would still be able to file in the old format.

May said SouthData works with nearly 90 of North Carolina’s counties — Stokes County being the latest to sign on with the company — and provides millions of tax documents for counties all over the country. The introduction of online listing of assets represents a transition away from paper and drive toward a more digital platform.

If the county and tax office staff are satisfied with the online business asset listing, a move to online personal tax listings could be considered.