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Cook County car sales tax may be revamped

Elizabeth Gorman

Elizabeth Gorman

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Updated: April 15, 2013 6:39PM

Cook County commissioners this week are expected to consider revamping the county’s year-old transfer tax on vehicles purchased outside of a car dealership, Commissioner Liz Gorman, a suburban Republican, said Monday.

Gorman said that although she had called for a repeal of the tax, a compromise reached with board President Toni Preckwinkle will be introduced at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The tax took effect March 1 of last year and applies to person-to-person vehicle sales. The tax has a discount for people who want to sell their car, or simply transfer the title, to a family member.

The county’s rate is assessed based on the age of the vehicle rather than it’s estimated value.

Currently, vehicles that are five years or newer are taxed at $225, while vehicles six- to 10-years old are assessed $200 and vehicles 11 years or older are taxed $175.

Gorman described it as an “overly aggressive tax that punishes low-income earners and young people in particular” who might be buying their first car and have a limited budget to work with.

The amendment to the tax would impose a rate of $225 for vehicles three years old or newer, $175 for vehicles four to eight years old and $90 for vehicles 9 years old or older.

Gorman said the changes would make the tax, “more fair and equitable for person-to-person car buyers.”

Gorman’s office said changes to the tax shouldn’t affect revenue generated by it, projected to bring in $7.8 million annually.

The county board holds its April meeting on Wednesday.

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