Georgetown County, S.C. — As students poured into classrooms early Wednesday morning for the first day of school, staff from the Georgetown County Auditor's office was also getting an early start.
Auditor Linda Mock and her staff were stationed at student drop-off points at schools throughout the county, monitoring for vehicles with out-of-state license plates.
It's an activity they repeat every year during the first three days of school.
On the first two days of this year's operation, they recorded more than 50 plate numbers. They'll research the owners to see if the tags are in violation of state law.
People who move to the state have 45 days to switch over their registration and get S.C. tags.
The number of violations discovered annually is “pretty steady,” Mock said.
The office's efforts to ensure all who live and work in the county are complying with the law and paying their fair share in taxes has generated about $75,000 for the county in recent years.
A large portion of tax dollars is directed toward the school system, Mock points out.
Many of those found to be in violation during the Auditor's “back-to-school blitz” don't realize they're breaking the law, Mock said.
“When you move to a new state or a new area, you're not familiar with all the laws,” she explained.
“This is just a good way for us to tell them, or remind them, to come pay their taxes and get their plate changed.”
If violators fail to respond when contacted by the Auditor's office, fines and jail time could result.
“To miss one violator is doing a disservice to the taxpayers who are paying their fair share,” Mock said.
Tips from county residents also help the Auditor's office locate people whose vehicle tags are in violation.
The office needs the license plate number and state it was issued in, and make and model of the vehicle to pursue a lead. Tips can be sent in anonymously.
To report a violation or to get information about how to get your vehicle tags in compliance, call 545-3021 or visit www.gtcounty.org and click on “tax information.”
— From Georgetown County
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