Cook county attempts to charge storage tax on impounded vehicles, PTROI intervenes
The Cook County Department of Revenue has recently tried to impose a 6% storage tax on impounded vehicles. Apparently this all stems from the Cook County Parking and Garage tax which has been around for several years. The county, in their rush to create more revenue, has decided that this law also applies to towing companies that store police impounds, relocation tows, or consent tows. One danger that we see in this law is the probability, that if it goes unchecked, it will spread throughout most of the state.
Upon examining the law with our attorney, it is rather plain to see that it applies to consent situations only. It states in the law that it applies to someone seeking the privilege of parking on your premises. It further states that the vehicles must be self-propelled. Crashed vehicles and relocated vehicles(due to no keys) are not self-propelled. At this time the tax has not been applied to Chicago police tows, or body shop or mechanic shop storage, which shows that it is a discriminatory tax. To make matters MUCH worse, the county is seeking to collect this tax retroactively, which means they want the tax, interest, and penalty, which can be as much as 75% of the actual tax. Also the law states that the vehicle owner or operator is ultimately responsible for payment of the tax, but that won’t happen because the county never notified us of the tax.
Recently PTROI president Bill Wishard and Executive Director were in our attorney’s office to conduct a conference call with the Cook County Department of Revenue. After quite a bit of discussion it was decided that our attorney, Don Rothschild, would write a letter to the State’s Attorney of Cook County requesting a legal opinoin regarding this matter. While the decision is being made, the county agreed to a moratorium on trying to collect this tax. A decision should be reached sometime in September. The county would like you to register now to pay the tax, but our attorney said to wait until we get it figured out. We will keep our members updated on this.