The Texas House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 3861 (HB 3861), which is now awaiting approval in the Senate. If this bill passes, it will mandate the use of webDEALER, an online platform, for processing most title applications by dealers. The introduction of webDEALER aims to streamline the paperwork process at local tax offices, reducing wait times and improving efficiency. While the majority of county Tax Assessors support HB 3861, concerns have been raised by some regarding the suitability of webDEALER for all dealers and specific transaction types.
The Benefits and Concerns
webDEALER has long been recommended as a valuable tool for dealers, but there are concerns about making it mandatory. Certain transaction types, such as applying for initial handicap plates and antique tags, cannot be processed on the webDEALER system, which presents a challenge for dealers specializing in these vehicles. Additionally, some dealers rely on full-service deputies to handle their paperwork. Regardless, there is a pressing need for faster processing times at tax offices, benefiting both dealers and consumers.
Dealers have an important role to play in helping their local tax offices expedite customer paperwork. Several measures can be taken to speed up the process and are within YOUR control. One crucial aspect is ensuring the completeness of all submitted paperwork. Incomplete or flawed documentation can significantly delay the tax office’s processing time. According to state law, a vehicle is considered titled once the tax office receives properly completed paperwork. Hence, dealers will not be penalized for any delays caused by the tax office, as long as the paperwork was correctly submitted.
One effective way to expedite the process is by signing up for webDEALER, provided it aligns with the dealership’s needs. The adoption of webDEALER allows tax office employees to process four to five times more transactions compared to in-person drop-offs. If a dealer has yet to sign up for webDEALER, it is recommended to consult with the local tax office to initiate the process. Training resources for webDEALER can be accessed at https://www.txdmv.gov/dealers/webdealer/resources.
At present, HB 3861 is awaiting a Senate hearing. If no hearing occurs within the next two weeks, the bill will not pass and become law. The passage of HB 3861 and the potential implementation of webDEALER for title applications mark a significant step toward streamlining processes and reducing wait times at tax offices. While concerns have been raised regarding the suitability of webDEALER for all dealers and specific transaction types, the overall aim is to improve efficiency for the benefit of dealers and consumers alike. Dealers should remain proactive in assisting their local tax offices by ensuring complete and accurate paperwork submission.
We continue to monitor the progress of HB 3861 and will provide updates accordingly, keeping dealers informed of any changes or decisions made.
This post has been adapted from an article by Earl Cooke of Texas Independent Automobile Dealers Association.