November 17, 2004
Tage Wood had a stroke in June, decided it was time to stop driving, and gave the car to her son.
But when the Chandler woman tried to get a refund on the $348 in vehicle license tax she paid when she registered her car in April, she couldn’t — even after her son registered the car in his name for another $281 in September.
Arizona law states drivers are entitled to a refund only if they are owed more than $350.
"I’m not trying to make waves," the 86-year-old on a fixed income said. "I just think it’s unjust."
Cydney DeModica, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Division, said the department’s hands are tied by the current law. It is straightforward, she said. It does not make any exceptions for extenuating circumstances.
But on Jan. 1, the law will change.
Anyone owed more than $12 will be eligible to apply for a refund.
"The reason the law changed was because of cases like (Wood’s) where people who should be getting a refund weren’t," said Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler. "We wanted to return that money back and rightfully so."
The problem is that while Wood waits for January to roll around, the state deducts some each month from her credit with the Motor Vehicle Division. That means the amount she would be refunded gets less and less.
Her son, Carson Wood, said the state should make the law retroactive to apply to vehicles that have changed hands since the new law was approved earlier this year.
"I am glad it’s changed, but why didn’t it change when it was passed?" he asked. "There is no need for us to be paying taxes on these vehicles twice for the same period of time. The state has their money. They’re not losing a dime."