Local News

27-year-old vehicle considered 'classic' in Cumberland County

Posted May 25, 2016

— An 80-year-old Cumberland County woman was shocked to find out her 27-year-old car is now considered a classic, which means higher taxes to the county.

Gisela Holbert said she is struggling to comprehend how her 1989 Toyota Camry is worth nearly $5,000.

The Cumberland County tax office says the 27-year-old vehicle is a classic and slapped her with a tax bill of $100.

“It’s always been transportation, we don’t’ collect cars,” Holbert said. “That’s my transportation, that car.”

Holbert said her husband bought the car for her birthday in July of 1989. He was going to pay it off that December as a Christmas present, but he unexpectedly died.

Holbert said she’s kept the car for sentimental reasons. She used to pay $17 in taxes to the county, $83 less than her current bill.

“I think I have to pay a penalty now because I tried to take care of it,” she said. “I mean, it’s got dents in it a little from people opening the car door.”

Joe Utley, Cumberland County’s tax administrator, said the classic vehicle tax has been around for years but wasn’t designed to hurt people like Holbert.

“The rule was put in place because when a vehicle gets older, people restore them and put them in shows and they present them to different places,” Utley said.

Utley said anyone who finds themselves in a situation like Holbert’s should bring their vehicle to the tax office for reassessment. He told WRAL News Wednesday that he believes they county will make a change in Holbert’s situation.


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  • TJ Wahoo May 26, 2016
    user avatar

    The county has probably determined how much they can raise revenues by sending out these inflated bills and hoping that folks will just pay it without question. Even legitimate classics can be "basket cases" that do not deserve the extra assessment.

  • Larry Wiandt May 26, 2016
    user avatar

    What a ridiculous tax law! The county should be required to purchase the car for that amount if the owner chooses to sell it. That would stop the nonsense!

  • Perry Masonjar May 26, 2016
    user avatar

    To say that Cumberland County has a warped sense of perspective would be an understatement. I just added to our farmland in Bladen County and there is a junked 1984 Monte Carlo in the barn, suitable for restoring, if anyone wants a classic:)