Field investigators crack down on out-of-state car tags

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) The Horry County Auditor's Office says it's making big strides by cracking down on people who fail to register their cars in South Carolina.

Officials say field investigators will be hitting school parking lots early Monday to check for parents who drop their children off at school with out-of-state tags. Local auditors say the lack of car registration has become a problem in recent years.

Tim Christopher, field auditor with the Horry County Auditor's Office, says more than 500 people have been fined in 2011 for not registering their car within 45 days of moving to South Carolina.

"People like to think they're ratting on their neighbors if they call in a tag," he said. "Our point is if you're living here and paying your fair share, why shouldn't they?"

He says the county is losing out on critical money that's collected from car registrations and then re-distributed to area schools.

While the start of school is the most popular time for the Horry County Auditor's Office to issue warnings for out-of-school tags, Christopher says auditors are cracking down on the problem year round. He says auditors frequently scan parking lots, businesses, hospitals, apartment complexes and shopping plazas for out-of-state tags.

More than $54,000 in fines have been collected from people found in violation of South Carolinas 45-day car registration rule in 2011.

Christopher says the trickle-down effect of not registering your car and not declaring residency in South Carolina trickles down to how much you pay on your home's property taxes. He says in-state residents pay lower property taxes - at 4 percent in Horry County.

People living in Horry County who have yet to register their cars in Horry County are being asked to do so, by visiting the Horry County Auditor's Office during normal business hours.

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