Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5477

Public Act No. 04-126

AN ACT CONCERNING ENFORCEMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENCIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 12-146 of the general statutes, as amended by section 58 of public act 03-6 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

Unless the context otherwise requires, wherever used in this section, "tax" includes each property tax and each installment and part thereof due to a municipality as it may have been increased by interest, fees and charges. If any tax due in a single installment or if any installment of any tax due in two or more installments is not paid in full (1) on or before the first day of the month next succeeding the month in which it became due and payable, or if not due and payable on the first day of the month, (2) on or before the same date of the next succeeding month corresponding to that of the month on which it became due and payable, the whole or such part of such installment as is unpaid shall thereupon be delinquent and shall be subject to interest from the due date of such delinquent installment. Except for unpaid real estate taxes the collection of which was, or is, deferred under the provisions of section 12-174, and any predecessor and successor thereto, which unpaid real estate taxes continue to be subject to the provisions of such deferred collection statutes, the delinquent portion of the principal of any tax shall be subject to interest at the rate of eighteen per cent per annum from the time when it became due and payable until the same is paid, subject to a minimum interest charge of two dollars which any municipality, by vote of its legislative body, may elect not to impose, and provided, in any computation of such interest, under any provision of this section, each fractional part of a month in which any portion of the principal of such tax remains unpaid shall be considered to be equivalent to a whole month. Each addition of interest shall become, and shall be collectible as, a part of such tax. Interest shall accrue at said rate until payment of such taxes due notwithstanding the entry of any judgment in favor of the municipality against the taxpayer or the property of the taxpayer. Except as hereinafter specified for taxes representing two or more items of property, the collector shall not receive any partial payment of a delinquent tax which is less than the total accrued interest on the principal of such tax up to the date of payment and shall apply each partial payment to the wiping out of such interest before making any application thereof to the reduction of such principal; provided, whenever the first partial payment is made after delinquency, interest from the due date of such delinquent tax to the date of such partial payment shall be figured on the whole or such part of the principal of such tax as is unpaid at the beginning of delinquency and provided, whenever a subsequent partial payment of such tax is made, interest shall be figured from the date of payment of the last-preceding, to the date of payment of such subsequent, partial payment on the whole or such balance of the principal of such tax as remains unpaid on the date of the last-preceding partial payment. If any tax, at the time of assessment or because of a subsequent division, represents two or more items of property, the collector may receive payment in full of such part of the principal and interest of such tax as represents one or more of such items, even though interest in full on the entire amount of the principal of such tax has not been received up to the date of such payment; in which event, interest on the remaining portion of the principal of any such tax shall be computed, as the case may be, from the due date of such tax if no other payment after delinquency has been made or from the last date of payment of interest in full on the whole amount or unpaid balance of the principal of such delinquent tax if previous payment of interest has been made. Each collector shall keep a separate account of such interest and the time when the same has been received and shall pay over the same to the treasurer of the municipality of the collector as a part of such tax. No tax or installment thereof shall be construed to be delinquent under the provisions of this section if the envelope containing the amount due as such tax or installment, as received by the tax collector of the municipality to which such tax is payable, bears a postmark showing a date within the time allowed by statute for the payment of such tax or installment. Any municipality may, by vote of its legislative body, require that [(A)] any delinquent property taxes applicable with respect to a motor vehicle shall be paid only in cash or by certified check or money order. [, and (B) any person who was delinquent in the payment of any property tax or installment on any motor vehicle and who the municipality notified the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such delinquency under the provisions of section 14-33 shall pay a fee of five dollars. ] Any municipality adopting such requirement may provide that such requirement shall only be applicable to delinquency exceeding a certain period in duration as determined by such municipality. Any municipality shall waive all or a portion of the interest due and payable under this section on a delinquent tax with respect to a taxpayer who has received compensation under chapter 968 as a crime victim.

Sec. 2. Section 14-33 of the general statutes, as amended by section 5 of public act 03-264 and section 102 of public act 03-1 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(a) [If] Subject to the provisions of subsection (e) of this section, if any property tax, or any installment thereof, laid by any city, town, borough or other taxing district upon a registered motor vehicle or snowmobile remains unpaid, the tax collector of such city, town, borough or other taxing district shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such delinquency in accordance with listings and schedules of dates established by the commissioner and on forms prescribed and furnished by the commissioner, specifying the name and address of the person against whom such tax has been assessed, the date when such tax was due and the registration number, if known to the collector. [Such forms shall be submitted to the commissioner together with payment of a fee of fifty cents for each such vehicle or snowmobile. Such fee shall be deposited into the General Fund. ] The commissioner shall not issue registration for such motor vehicle or snowmobile for the next registration period if, according to the commissioner's records, it is then owned by the person against whom such tax has been assessed or by any person to whom such vehicle has not been transferred by bona fide sale. Unless notice has been received by the commissioner under the provisions of section 14-33a, no such registration shall be issued until a receipt evidencing the payment of such tax or certificate of abatement of such tax or other satisfactory evidence that the tax obligation has been legally discharged has been presented to the commissioner; nor shall the commissioner register any other motor vehicle or snowmobile in the name of such person until a receipt evidencing the payment of such tax or a certificate of abatement of such tax or other satisfactory evidence that the tax obligation has been legally discharged has been presented to the commissioner, except that the commissioner may continue to register other vehicles owned by a leasing or rental firm licensed pursuant to section 14-15, if the commissioner is satisfied that arrangements have been made to discharge such tax obligation, and may issue such registration to any private owner of three or more paratransit vehicles in direct proportion to the percentage of total tax due on such vehicles which has been paid and notice of payment on which has been received. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may immediately suspend all motor vehicle or snowmobile registrations issued in the name of any person (1) who has been reported as delinquent and whose registration was renewed through an error or through the production of false evidence that the delinquent tax had been paid, or (2) who has been reported by a tax collector as having paid a property tax on a motor vehicle or snowmobile with a check which was dishonored by a bank and such tax remains unpaid. Any person aggrieved by any action of the commissioner under this section may appeal therefrom in the manner provided in section 14-134. For the purposes of this subsection, "paratransit vehicle" means a motor bus, taxicab or motor vehicle in livery service operated under a certificate of convenience and necessity issued by the Department of Transportation or by a transit district and which is on call or demand or used for the transportation of passengers for hire.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, in consultation with the Treasurer and the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, may enter into an agreement with the tax collector of any city, town, borough or other taxing district whereby the commissioner shall collect any property tax or any installment thereof on a registered motor vehicle which remains unpaid from any person against whom such tax has been assessed who makes application for registration for such motor vehicle. Each such agreement shall include a procedure for the remission of taxes collected to the city, town, borough or other taxing district, on a regular basis, and may provide that a fee be paid by the city, town, borough or other taxing district to the commissioner to cover any costs associated with the administration of the agreement. In the event an agreement is in effect, the commissioner shall immediately issue a registration for a motor vehicle owned by a person against whom such tax has been assessed upon receipt of payment of such tax and a service fee of two dollars, in addition to the fee prescribed for the renewal of the registration.

(c) On and after March 1, 1989, any municipality may participate in a program administered by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to facilitate the payment of fines for parking violations. If any such municipality elects to participate in such program, it shall provide for a notice of violation to be served personally upon the operator of a motor vehicle who is present at the time of service. If the operator is not present, the notice shall be served upon the owner of the motor vehicle by affixing notice to said vehicle in a conspicuous place. In the case of any motor vehicle that is leased or rented by the owner, not more than thirty days after the initial notice of a parking violation for which a fine remains unpaid at such time, a second notice of violation shall be mailed to the address of record of the owner leasing or renting the motor vehicle to such operator. No fines or penalties shall accrue to the owner of such rented or leased vehicle for the violation for a period of sixty days after the second notice is mailed. A participating municipality shall notify the commissioner of every owner of a registered motor vehicle who has unpaid fines for more than five parking violations committed within such municipality on and after March 1, 1989. Upon receipt of such notification, the commissioner shall not issue or renew the motor vehicle registration of such person until he receives notification from such municipality that the delinquent fines have been paid.

(d) The provisions of subsection (c) of this section shall not apply to any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of leasing or renting motor vehicles without drivers in this state with respect to any motor vehicle which is leased or rented. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to implement the provisions of subsection (c) of this section.

(e) On and after July 1, 2004, each city and town shall make an annual payment to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, in an amount determined by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in order to participate in the program administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. Such amount shall be each city or town's proportionate cost of the administration of said program, to be determined as follows: The number obtained by multiplying said program's administrative cost by a fraction the numerator of which shall be the city or town's population and the denominator of which shall be the population of the state. As used in this section, "population" means the number of persons in the city or town according to the most recent estimate made, pursuant to section 19a-2a, by the Department of Public Health. The commissioner shall, on or before July fifteenth, annually, certify to said secretary the commissioner's cost to administer said program. The secretary shall, on or before August first, annually, notify the chief executive officer of each city and town of the amount such city or town is required to pay to the commissioner and such amount shall be payable not later than September first following said notification date. All amounts received by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited into the General Fund. If a city or town fails to annually pay its proportionate share of said program's administrative cost, the commissioner shall not be required to deny the issuance of a registration, pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, to the person against whom such tax has been assessed by said city or town, or by a borough or other taxing district located therein.

Approved May 21, 2004