Skipped the tax bill? No driver's license

New York wants people who owe the state money off the road. That's actually lenient compared to what scofflaws face in other states.

By Jason Notte Aug 22, 2013 7:22AM
Image: Frustrated woman driving car © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty ImagesFeel that taxes are a real drag on your existence and an affront to your recently formed, financially convenient libertarian beliefs? That's fine: Just hand over your driver's license, stop wearing out the roads those taxes pay for and we'll call it even.

New York has enough problems fixing potholes in its highly populated state without its citizens stiffing it when the check for those repairs comes in. To make sure it gets every dollar it can, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is implementing a driver's license suspension program aimed at those with more than $10,000 in back taxes and no more opportunities to appeal.

That means about 16,000 New Yorkers would be subject to a penalty that's already in place in Massachusetts, California and Louisiana. New York's punishment is fairly lenient compared to that of its bayou buddies, who only require $1,000 in back taxes to take a Louisiana resident's license away.

Even actual libertarians think it's a pretty good idea. Self-described libertarian David Brunori, deputy publisher of Tax Analysts, tells CNNMoney it's a fairly ingenuous punishment if all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

"Holding your feet to the fire is not necessarily crazy," he says. "Getting a license is a privilege. It's not messing around with a constitutional right."

It also allows tax scofflaws to make life a bit easier on themselves. New York will let them work out a payment plan if they can't pay everything in full. Those whose licenses are suspended may apply for a restricted license that would let them drive to and from work only.

It saves the state the bother of garnishing wages, imposing tax liens and seizing bank accounts, moves that are more difficult to enforce and are a legal minefield for the states involved. Tax dodgers, meanwhile, are spared the public shame of California's list of the Top 500 tax delinquents, whose names the state publishes twice a year.

Though the cutoff for that list is a whopping $100,000 in back taxes, it gives California the right to pull your driver's and professional licenses and prohibits state agencies from conducting business with you until the debts are paid. By that measure, missing a New York commute for a little while doesn't seem so bad.

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Aug 22, 2013 1:41PM
There is a documentary on Netflix called "We're Not Broke" .... and it's about all the major corporations that manipulate the laws in order to avoid paying even one dollar in income taxes in this country, despite recording billion dollar profits. With a government full of politicians who are bought and paid for through campaign contributions, they have been avoiding paying taxes for years, while we, the people continue to foot the bill in this country. IF THESE CORPORATIONS can get away with blatant tax evasion, under laws manipulated by their puppet politicians, then who's to say they can't manipulate everything that goes on in the hoax called the stock market, in order to fill their corporate pockets, while the country flounders in an economic death spiral ??? Someone needs to be in jail ... no one is ever held responsible for anything anymore, unless you are a private citizen. This aggression can not stand ... open your eyes America.
Aug 22, 2013 2:07PM
Too bad they don't do this for uninsured drivers.
Aug 22, 2013 2:18PM
I guess if that happens to me I'll just drive without a license, the illegals get by without one most of the time. 
Aug 22, 2013 1:47PM
So, does this new law apply to the lawmakers who don't pay their taxes also or is it just for the working people?  I hope to see this country fall to it's knees.  That is the only way to begin the trip back up.  Anything to squeeze more money from people.  I didn't read all this but I would guess those driving to a job, where they would pay taxes, would be allowed to go to work and those who get a governement check would not be expected to pay taxes and would therefore be exempt, as would the lawmakers.  This country has got to hit rock bottom!!! 
Aug 22, 2013 2:54PM
Do you really think if you take peoples license away they will stop driving???  Maybe you need to drink a bigger cup of soda and rethink your policy's
Aug 22, 2013 2:35PM
Excuse me, but when you buy gas for your car, you pay a HUGE amount of taxes on every single gallon you buy...both state and federal.  Those gasoline taxes help pay for the roads that EVERYONE drives on, including the car pool lanes that only a select few get to drive on.  I think that gives you the right to a drivers license!  Of course, if you were part of our wonderful government elite, you don't have to pay taxes, or buy your own car, or buy your own gas....we, the taxpayer have the privilege of providing that for you.  You think Cuomo EVER buys a single gallon of gas??  People need their cars, hence driver's licenses, to get to they can keep filling the coffers of the our elitist government!  We already have enough people on welfare...take away their licenses and you take away their jobs, which puts them on welfare.  ENOUGH!!
Aug 22, 2013 3:25PM
Do I detect a government overthrow by the people. Have we had enough.
Aug 22, 2013 3:50PM
Just how does revoking a licence actually STOP folks from driving?
Aug 22, 2013 2:00PM

Leave it to New York, right? If they are wanting every dollar than they will be missing out on Driver license fees and car tag fees if people lose their license. And how are they suppose to get to work so they earn money to pay those taxes?


Stupid is as stupid does and New York takes the cake for that lately.

Aug 22, 2013 3:07PM

Hello, Big Brother...


Wonder how many politicians are going to be penalized in the Commmunist States of America...?

Aug 22, 2013 1:32PM
This is a crazy law, it hurts the people that can least afford it. Most people don`t pay there taxes because they can't,so lets take there means to earn money away. Boy that makes a lot of sense, politicians at there finest!!!!!!
Aug 22, 2013 2:07PM

The days of the horse for transportation are gone.

We should have a "right" to personal transportation.

Let's face it, without a car you can't get work. Its as simple as that. Very few cities even have usable bus systems, and really the only one you can set your watch to is NYC.

The constitution does guarantee the unencumbered travel of citizens. Had they had the faintest idea that something like a car would replace a horse or a train they would have written a clause in the constitution to cover it.


Unfortunately our constitution can't always keep up with technology, but we need honest, trustworthy leaders to uphold  it's ideals as technology progresses.

Aug 22, 2013 4:01PM

I will drive with or without a license.  It used to be a "privilege".  In today's society on the move 24 hours a day it is a "right" and a "necessity". 

I am tired of the government raping our paychecks and wanting more, more, more. 

Guess what Einstein's, if you take away the license and people can't get to work you don't get tax money. 

Aug 22, 2013 4:02PM
If everyone that has federal taxes deducted from their pay would stay home for just 3 days...we could effectively shut down the government and their wasteful antics.
Aug 22, 2013 3:39PM

I want to see this sign at NYS borders:

"New York: The Taxation State"

Aug 22, 2013 3:51PM
F*ck yeah I'll work from home and order in if I can get away with not paying taxes!!!
Aug 22, 2013 4:37PM

I thought that was what the gasoline taxes were for...road maintenance.

Am I wrong.  What do gas taxes pay for if not roads? 

Aug 22, 2013 3:16PM
When you get that drivers license the first time, you have entered into a life time contract. Read the form you signed, every word/line. You will maintain that license till you die, all states. Revoked,suppended,expired no difference, its a felony. You never get that license, as the illegal's are told, its a misdemeanor. Small fine, you walk.
Aug 22, 2013 4:21PM
Aug 22, 2013 4:03PM
This guy is an IDIOT, first it was the size of soda that you drink now it is take your license if your taxes aren't paid on that note how the heck will you goto work to get the money to pay the taxes!
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