Another Motorist Says Chicago Is Wrongly Seizing His State Tax Refund

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.

  • Rahm-zombie....

    The Government doesn’t make mistakes.

  • b.s. caller

    Who sells a car and leaves his plates on it?? I call b.s.

    • Roberta Waker

      @b.s. I totally agree with you. When you sell a car you always remove the plates and either destroy them or transfer them to another vehicle. Until title is transferred and the car is registered to another owner, YOU are totally responsible. This was a dumb mistake that will enrich the City of Chicago. I still don’t think it’s legal for the CITY to take a STATE refund, but until someone files a lawsuit against it, the City will continue to do it, right or wrong.

  • E. Smith

    Yet another level of theft and corruption from our felonious City of Chicago. They’ve wasted every penny they’ve stolen to date Now we have yet another criminal intrusion to defend against.

  • Jim

    “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.” How do Chicagoans pay the price for non-paid tickets? I guess the police stations charge the taxpayers as they expect that as income?

    • Roberta Waker

      Since license plates expire every year, I don’t understand how Rojas can be ticketed for old plates that should have expired. While it was dumb to leave them on his car (not to mention illegal to do so), I would like to know how this could happen. Something just doesn’t seem right.

  • tm

    If these losers obeyed the street signs they wouldn’t have rec’d a ticket. They neglected paying the fine and now they are upset that they have to pay up? Funny. I love it!

    • Tim

      Yeah but his argument is that someone else driving with his plates got the parking tickets.

  • tony

    What people need to do to avoid paying chicago is have less taxes taken out by thier employers so that they owe the state .Which in turn the city cant get thier money from you

    • Roberta Waker

      @Tony. This is a good idea, but unfortunately it won’t help those getting a tax refund this year. I’m sure almost everyone that owes money to Chicago will be doing this for next year.

  • Me

    Its not just Chicago. Its a state law that was passed to aid city, county, etc. governments collect money owed them. Its the same thing that happens when ones wages are garnished.

    Plus, the government entity in question has to jump through hoops of multiple court notices, just like wage-garnishment, then a submittal to the State with your ID,etc. so the State can check if you are owed money. You can fight it, as this guy though he had done years ago.

    Not defending what Chicago is doing to this guy, just explaining what the law does and does not allow\do.

    This guy failed in one major point (outside of giving his plates away)…he didn’t keep the court paperwork until he had received a note from the CIty of Chicago that the tickets were gone. Just because the court rules in your favour, you aren’t free until the paperwork clears.

  • Chicago News Stories for Mar 02 2012 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Chicago

    […] don’t extend to those who will be participating. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levin reports.Another Motorist Says Chicago Is Wrongly Seizing His State Tax RefundThe city of Chicago is going after the state income-tax refunds of drivers who haven’t paid […]

  • Cyn507

    Chicago jacks your money wether you owe it or not. They’re taking it. What a racket.

  • non-chicagoan

    Okay, now this guy first ‘sells’ a car but leaves his plates on it? Second he claims to not haved received a single notice EXCEPT the one that says -“you ignored us up until now-so now we will just take your refund”? and of course he doesn’t have any paperwork to back up his claim, but expects the city to just believe him, when the first step in this ‘supposed’ scenerio was his illegal passing of his plates.
    I am not saying it is impossible for his story to be true, just highly unlikely.
    I am one of the suburbanites that years ago received a ‘bad’ ticket. I called the city-told them I no longer had that license plate number(as at that time it was the citys failure to update the state database of license plates) and they just asked for the ‘ticket number’ on the notice and sent out withing 1 week a notice that I was not being held responsible. This was back in the ’80’s and I still have that notice.

  • Don

    When does a fine become a tax? I would say when they disproportionally target some groups over others like these cameras do.

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