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12 Responds: Why haven’t I received my car tax bill?

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island lawmakers have pushed back their state budget proposal, which has caused some communities to delay sending out car tax bills.

It’s also causing problems for Rhode Islanders who recently bought a new car. 

The state requires residents to pay taxes on motor vehicle purchases by the 20th of the month following the purchase, but one viewer wrote to 12 Responds, saying: “The DMV is charging customers a late fee with interest for anyone who doesn’t pay new vehicle taxes by the 20th each month even though you can’t make an appointment for over a month out.”

The DMV website explains: “If you are not able to visit the DMV in a timely manner to get your vehicle registered and remit sales tax to DMV prior to the tax due date, you may contact the Division of Taxation excise tax section to pay your sales tax directly before the tax due date to avoid the assessment of penalties and interest.”

A DMV spokesperson tells 12 News the agency can’t move the motor vehicle sales tax deadline without the approval of the General Assembly, but residents can apply for a late-fee refund through the Division of Taxation.

The Division of Taxation can be reached at (401) 574-8955 or via email tax.excise@tax.ri.gov, according to the website.

There’s also a difference between state car taxes and city and town car taxes.

Another viewer told 12 Responds: “I haven’t received my car taxes yet…I called the tax office for Warwick and they said were waiting for the state budget to come out.”

Executive Director of the R.I. League of Cities and Towns Brian Daniels tells 12 News Warwick is one of about a dozen communities who are delaying the car tax bill.

The other communities are Central Falls, Exeter, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Lincoln, Pawtucket, Richmond, South Kingstown, Tiverton, West Greenwich and Woonsocket. 

Daniels said communities that did send out car tax bills may have to adjust the bill depending on the budget the General Assembly comes up with, which is why some are waiting. 

R.I. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has pledged to phase out the car tax by 2024.

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