Do You Owe Chicago Parking, Other Fines?

It's time to pay up. The city is using a new state law to get at your state income tax refund.

The city of Chicago is using a new state law to get the money you owe on that parking ticket you have been ignoring.

The City Council Wednesday acted to use the Illinois Comptroller’s new Local Debt Recovery Program to seize income tax refunds for scofflaws who have not paid judgments or parking ticket fines dating back to 2005. If your tax return is less than what you owe, the remainder can be taken out of future refunds for up to five years. Each year, the state will keep a $15 processing fee, NBC Channel 5 reported.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not about to let more than 100,000 Illinois residents and businesses with overdue Chicago parking tickets, red-light camera citations and judgments rendered by city hearing officers get off scot-free, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago could collect as much as $20 million of the $80 million owed by the 100,000 people, according to Department of Finance estimates. However, before refund money is tapped and forwarded to the city, individuals and businesses with outstanding city debts will have 60 days to appeal—even after ignoring repeated warning notices from the city.

The measure passed 41-8. The vote came amidst warnings that some of that debt is the result of judgments by administrative hearing officers presiding over a “kangaroo court,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“What about that guy in Orland who has 26 tickets and he never came here?” the Sun-Times quoted Ald. Robert Fioretti as saying.

Springfield and south suburban Oak Forest also are using the new state law to collect overdue debts.


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