For anyone one who has to renew a commercial vehicle tag, Barton County Treasurer Kevin Wondra has two important pieces of advice.
One, get it done sooner rather than later.
Two, be prepared by having all the necessary information in hand.
All commercial tags expire as of Saturday so, the registration deadline is Friday. Customers can come into Wondra’s courthouse office today and Friday, but the staff will stop processing commercial renewals at 2:45 p.m. both days.
“If customers need to tag a vehicle as commercial, there is specific information we have to have in order to do that,” he said. “They need to contact our office to request an information sheet we have that lets them know what info is required before they come up to do the work.”
Commercial vehicle owners should have received a letter from state officials in December. It contained directions on how to renew online and customers can still do this, Wondra said.
However, this system allows only for credit card payments and there is an additional fee charged for that.
Last year, the new commercial vehicle guidelines were new and law enforcement was lenient. But, Wondra said officers will be more strict this year and could start issuing tickets Sunday.
The pending deadline has led to a flood of traffic in the Treasurer’s Office. To complicate matters, not only are commercial renewals due by the end of the month, but so are all other tag renewals for county residents whose names start with “A.”
Plus, Wondra said, some treasurers are only handling commercial registrations for residents of their respective county because of the added burden. These include Rice and Rush counties.
Barton County is accepting out-of-county transactions for now.
Pawnee, Ellis, Reno and Russell counties are handling out-of-county work as well. But, Wondra said this may change.
Back on Jan. 2, 2014, the Kansas Department of Revenue, Commercial Motor Vehicle Office launched a new system aimed at increasing compliance with federal and state departments of transportation, Wondra said. The property tax assessed on commercial vehicles will also be replaced with a fee.
Wondra said his office now handles commercial motor vehicle transactions for vehicles that are used intrastate (within the State of Kansas). Up until Jan. 2, 2014, these had been handled at the state level.
The registration will be more expensive for some and less for others, Wondra said. The new system bases the cost on the declared weight of the vehicle, not the vehicle make, model and year like paying property taxes the old way.
There are those who tagged their vehicles as private and not commercial because they didn’t want the extra paperwork and rules, he said. There could be fines and a misdemeanor charge if they are stopped and are tagged as standard when they should in fact be tagged as a commercial vehicle.
If the vehicle is used for business purposes both within and outside the state, registration must be done at a county treasurer’ office that handles International Registration Plan vehicle transactions, and that does not include Barton County. The closest IRP county is Stafford.
During the 2011 session, the Kansas Legislature passed a law that removed the property tax, also called the ad valorem tax, from commercial vehicles and replaced it with a commercial vehicle fee that will be collected at the time of registration, Wondra said.
Motor carriers operating solely in Kansas as an intrastate motor carrier will receive a new license plate. The new white and purple plate marked “Commercial” will provide an easy reference for law enforcement. Kansas-based motor carriers that drive in Kansas and other states and currently have an apportioned tag will continue to receive the license plate that is white with red marked “Apportioned.”
The new fees were designed to streamline Kansas’ process tied to fluctuating property taxes and help businesses predict from year-to-year what their registration will cost, state officials said.
The definition of a commercial vehicle is not changing; the federal rules have been in place since July 2000. The new system will help ensure that all commercial vehicles are properly registered and comply with existing federal and state laws. Currently, commercial vehicles should be operating under a U.S. DOT number; that DOT number will be used to set up the new intrastate commercial vehicle registration account.
A commercial vehicle is used to transport property or passengers and:
• Has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more
• Is designed or used to transport 15 or more passengers, including the driver
• Is used to transport hazardous material in a quantity requiring placarding. If a vehicle meets any one of the three criteria, it is considered a commercial vehicle.
Last year, the vehicles that meet the definition of commercial motor vehicles but were tagged with a 6,000 mile exemption (were operated 6,000 miles or less per year) or as local (did not travel outside a 25-mile radius from their home base) were exempt last year, Wondra said. That was because the state’s system wasn’t set up to handle them.
However, that has changed. This year, these must also be tagged as regular commercial vehicles.
This registration does not affect farm vehicles.
More information is available in the commercial vehicle registration section of truckingks.org, there operators can also check if their county treasurer’s office offers commercial vehicle registration or to register for a DOT number.
To contact the BCTO, call 620-793-1831.