CHICAGO (CBS) – James Rojas isn’t getting a state refund because he’s on the same list as 23,000 others who owe money to the city of Chicago.
But Rojas tells CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman he shouldn’t be.
Rojas recently learned he wasn’t getting his state income tax refund because of alleged unpaid tickets. The city early this year adopted the strategy of seizing refunds from scofflaws.
But Rojas says he is being unfairly targeted. He says back in 1999 he sold his car to someone who never changed the plates. The new car owner got tickets for which Rojas was taking the blame.
So, in 2001, he says he had a court hearing and a judge absolved him of any responsibility related to the citations or the car.
Even after that, Rojas got notice of problems under his name with that car, which he says the city seized.
Now, the state is holding his refund, which will go to Chicago if he can’t prove his case. Rojas says he didn’t save the 2001 court paperwork that cleared him.
When he asked someone from the city how he can get proof, he got this response: “That’s your problem. You gotta prove it to us.”
According to a Department of Revenue inquiry, there is no record of any hearing or decision under Rojas’ name.
The agency says Rojas “received multiple, multiple notices for tickets issued to his car totaling over 400 dollars in debt owed to Chicago taxpayers and they were left unanswered.”
The department says more than half the people who owe the city money, like Rojas, live outside the city, leaving Chicagoans to pay the price.
Rojas says he never received multiple notices for tickets, and he insists he had a court hearing. It’s up to him to challenge it. If he’s found to be right, he’ll get his refund.