MOULTRIE, Ga. — For many Georgia drivers a birthday is not just a reminder that the Grim Reaper is one year closer to calling, it also means it’s time to renew car tags.
Those whose birthdays fall in late May will need to move the schedule up this year to pay auto taxes early due to the closing of tax offices while officials implement a new system.
As will be the case in other Georgia counties, the Colquitt County Tax Commissioner’s Office will not process any car tags or titles on May 24, but will accept payments on property taxes and mobile home registrations that day.
After that the office will then be closed through May 28, including the May 27 Memorial Day holiday. It will reopen on May 29.
When the office reopens Colquitt County Tax Commissioner Cindy Harvin expects a rush of people to come in as employees are using the new system — Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System (Georgia DRIVES) — for the first time in a real-world application.
To avoid delays, officials are asking that auto owners with birthdays falling around the time of the closing and reopening of the office come in early.
“We’re recommending (to) everybody, if your birthday falls in the last week of May or the first week of June, you may want to come on in” before then, Harvin said. “We’re just encouraging them to come in early.”
Drivers will not face a penalty for not coming in early, she said, but will be in violation of state law. So a driver who is stopped by police would have an expired vehicle registration.
Drivers usually can renew auto registration from about 45 days prior to their birthday, Harvin said.
Employees at the office will each have at least two days’ training with the Georgia DRIVES computer system before it goes online. Colquitt County Commission earmarked about $30,000 for the current budget year that ends June 31 for purchasing equipment.
Another $10,000 will be needed in the 2019-2020 budget for scanners.
Harvin has placed signs around the tax office notifying residents of the upcoming closing. The state also will be sending reminders to media outlets and funding radio announcements.
For the most part the main impacts will be inconvenience and perhaps long lines.
“We’re just going to need people to be very, very patient, because it’s going to be really difficult,” Harvin said.
The new system will offer convenience to customers, including more online and streamlined services and user-friendly technology, according to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Additional information is available at www.georgiadrives.com.