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No back penalties for old cars in California

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I have decided to send my papers to DMV in SACTO and take my chances. I was able to consult Bill Adams (thanks Bill). I have written a cover letter to send with my package explaining in detail  what each paper provides in evidence to support my case.  Then, I wrote an essay why I believe I am entitled to the exemption provided by cvc4604(d)3.

here it is:

 

PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE PLANNED NON-OP REQUIREMENT IN THE CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE

Before enactment of cvc4604 drivers in California were often tardy in paying yearly registration fees, slowing the revenue stream our government bureaucrats depend on. So it was decided that a system of late fees and penalties was needed to encourage the prompt and timely payment of vehicle taxes, thus smoothing out the cash flow. All late Fees are charged for this same reason. That is, to bias the tendency for payment towards early and away from being late. This applies to the short term delinquency. While there are many reasons for short term lateness, such as forgot due date, low on funds etc. all taxpayers will normally pay their taxes on time or as promptly as they can.

 

Now, mindful of those taxpayers who object to paying road taxes on vehicles not actually being used, the category of planned non-operation was conceived to provide relief for those payers whose vehicle was down for extended periods of time. (Partial year or medium term) To prevent abuse, the notice of planned non-op was required to be filed before registration expired.

 

Now, let’s consider the case for long term lapse of registration, often multiple years or even decades. There really is but one, and only one, reason a vehicle has a long term lapse in registration. It is deliberate on the part of the owner/taxpayer, but it is not to drive the vehicle without paying.  Not at all. Just the opposite, in fact. It is because the vehicle has broken down before registration has expired, and for whatever reason the owner has elected not to repair. So when the bill for next year’s registration comes, it goes into the infamous circular file. The vehicle then sits, parked in an out of the way location, off street. (It must be off street or it would be towed away and impounded).

No one is driving a vehicle that has multiple years expired tags. Obviously, it would be cited and/or impounded by the first LEO who observes it.

 

Now then, we come to the reason that vehicles 25 years old and older and of some interest to at least one collector, is deserving of an exemption from paying those back fees/penalties. First, the vehicle was not being driven by some scofflaw avoiding the payment of road use taxes. Second, it was not the collector who failed to pre-notify DMV of the vehicle’s breakdown. It was the registered prior owner who made that error.  But, DMV has not been cheated because the vehicle was not (could not) be driven.  Thus, in all fairness, the collector who has resurrected this dead relic is entitled to start over with a new registration, free from any tax and penalty for road use that never accrued.

 

Please note, it has nothing to do with having applied for and receiving historical status and corresponding license plate. That plate restricts use of the vehicle to a very limited scope, and therefore the owner pays an extremely low, one time fee.

 

 The statute providing exemption to the collector uses the DESCRIPTION found in the code for historical status to define the historically interesting vehicle belonging to the collector as eligible for the exemption from paying those back taxes/penalties that never accrued. The collector still must pay for the current year road taxes because the vehicle is now using the road.

 

I hope this essay has made clear to the reader why the exemption for collectable vehicles per California vehicle code 4604(d)3 is fair and just. It is not a loophole exploited by a person of questionable character to avoid paying fees. In reality, it is DMV whose denial of state mandated fee relief procedures that may well be questioned. It is my opinion that DMV should be in all cases fair and trustworthy for its clients, and not driven to gouge the highest possible tax from us. I am sure, nearly everyone will agree, DMV works for us, not the other way around. 

 

Signed,

 

 

DAVID J DEVONSHIRE

CAR  & MOTORCYCLE COLLECTOR,

TAXPAYER,  CITIZEN  

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA

 

 

 

 

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I have a motorcycle in the barn that hasn't been on the road or licensed since 1979. It is in Oregon but I have been watching this thread to see how it all will turn out. I ran into the same problem here.

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes giving the DMV too much information simply confuses them, which is why I generally just fill the appropriate applications, write the check and mail it all in.  Sometimes in special cases like this, I also fill the Statement of Facts’ last section where you can write free-style to explain, in the most basic of terms, why there is no title.  Again, not too much detail.  Since the vehicle wasn’t towed, parked or driven on any public road since you purchased it, you absolutely are not responsible for any back-fees although you will need to get the VIN verified if you haven't already done so.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)

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I have a verification form and can get a local LEO to fill it in. However, in four DMV visits no-one as questioned the vehicle. I do have the expired registration for 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 as well as all the lien sale doc's with the same information. Anyway, it seems that my essay has not garnered the support I thought it would. So it will be omitted  from my package. I am on hold for the time being, waiting for some back channel negotiations to run their course. Fingers crossed...

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If the vehicle is in the CA DMV database, then no verification needed but if not, then it will be required using form reg31 without question.  It’s typical of the DMV to not tell you everything needed, though, so it would not hurt to have it verified by a mobile verifier who will come to you to do it and they will supply the form with their license information prefilled.  Obviously I’m too far away to do it (and I’m in Zürich, Switzerland at the moment) so cannot assist but you should be able to find a licensed mobile VIN verifier in your area.  Since it doesn’t run, I presume you’re trying for a non-op but once the time comes to register it, it will also need an emissions test which they probably also didn’t tell you.

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Posted (edited)

I am aware it needs to pass smog test. DMV has told me also. Once I get a ruling on the back fees/penalties and pay those costs, DMV will give me a temporary pass to drive it to be smog tested.  I also need insurance before it is driven anywhere. We will wait for a while longer...thanks.

Edited by Diamondave
Update results ... Made another run at DMV today. found out they have record of a ticket in 2011 for expired tags. That voids any claim that the vehicle has not been operated since the registration expired. Therefore I am not exempt from paying. (see edit history)
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