“NY Suspends Driver’s Licenses For Tax Delinquents”

by Walter Olson on August 7, 2013

With enough enforcement linkage between different branches of government, do we even need a Panopticon? “Beginning this year, [New York] drivers who owe more than $10,000 in state taxes face losing their license until the debt is paid.” Does this mean persons who have fallen behind on taxes won’t be able to get to their jobs to pay off the arrears? Well, it seems “there is a ‘restricted’ license that you can apply for in the event that your license is suspended” which “would allow you to commute to and from work only.” How this is to be enforced — whether the hapless motorist will be nailed for stopping off for a loaf of bread on the way home, or venturing out for a job interview — is your guess as well as mine. [Kelly Phillips Erb, Forbes]

{ 9 comments }

1 Eponymous Nicholas 08.07.13 at 4:38 pm

I see your point but, erg, it’s just hard to scrape enough giveadarn out of the bottom of my bowl to spare some for tax delinquents.

When I think about it, this will probably affect mostly poor tax delinquents, not rich ones, because courts can garnish and freeze assets of the rich. I might be able to spare some giveadarn for poor people, if that’s how it turns out.

2 Elmer Fike 08.07.13 at 6:04 pm

So-called “restricted” licenses with home-to-work-and-back-again privileges only are already a thing here in California, after, say a DUI. I have no idea how the enforcement plays out.

3 prior probability 08.07.13 at 9:22 pm

Maybe there would be fewer tax delinquents if taxes weren’t so damn oppressive, and from a philosophical perspective, the irony here is that taxes are, to a great extent, a form of theft …

4 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.07.13 at 9:39 pm

I started a Usenet thread on a closely related subject nine years ago:
http://ne.transportation.narkive.com/TQM6npiy/moronic-idea-license-suspension-for-non-driving-offenses

With minor changes, my remarks then still stand:

License suspensions for non-driving offenses are dangerous, because they remove the stigma from unsafe drivers who operate with suspended licenses.

First let’s get dangerous drivers off the road. Confiscate the cars of those caught driving with a license suspended for unsafe driving (especially repeat-drunk drivers).

Develop means to catch drivers who drive around uninsured.(Exception: if the uninsured driver hasn’t caused an accident or other serious violation that would raise his insurance premium, he should be shown some leniency.)

Once those who shouldn’t be driving really have stopped driving, then, *maybe*, one could consider license suspensions for unrelated coercive purposes. Even then, however, other sanctions are likely to be more effective and less harmful.

5 VMS 08.07.13 at 10:43 pm

Wow! I wonder if there will be reciprocity for losing one’s license for failure to pay NYS taxes under the Driver License Compact. Maybe those that lose their licenses in NY will move elsewhere, and the state then will have a write-off instead of a chance of being paid back.

6 peter 08.08.13 at 8:44 am

Of course you can look at it from another perspective (not saying that i agree, but….)

“Non-tax payers not allowed to use the roads that tax dollars paid for.”

7 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.08.13 at 10:47 am

@Peter–
Even the “non-tax-payers” in this case pay the gas tax every time they fill up. (If they were driving heavy trucks that significantly depreciated the roads, I might feel differently.)

8 wfjag 08.08.13 at 7:41 pm

In Louisiana you could lose your hunting and fishing licences. In some of the Parishes, this proved a reasonably effective incentive.

9 Tamara 08.09.13 at 3:11 pm

In California, parents can also have their drivers licenses suspended for falling behind in child support payments.

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