Durham, N.C. — Residents in Durham County must now list their pets as personal property so the county can collect a tax owners were already supposed to be paying.
The tax – $10 if a pet has been spayed or neutered, $75 if it is unaltered – only applies to county residents who own cats and dogs four months and older.
Kimberly Simpson, Durham County's tax administrator, says that what is now a tax has been a fee collected by the county's Department of Animal Control. It became a tax this year so the tax office could collect it.
"I would say that they were collecting about 50 percent of what they were billing," Simpson said. "It is our goal to collect 100 percent."
Although Animal Control was sending out bills totaling nearly $1 million, Simpson said there is no way of knowing exactly how much money the county will generate by enforcing the tax rather than the fee.
Previously, there was no way knowing who had a dog or cat if it wasn't registered or had not been to a veterinarian for vaccinations.
Residents have until Feb. 2 to list their individual and business property for tax purposes.
Meanwhile, real estate taxes have to be in by Jan. 5, which is the last day before interest accrues on tax payments that were officially due Sept. 1.