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New D.C. ticket collection effort shrinks refunds

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia expects to collect $2 million this year by withholding unpaid traffic fines from tax refunds.

NBC 4’s Mark Segraves reports that so far this tax season, the District has withheld $682,320 from taxpayer refunds under a new program the D.C. Council and mayor approved last year. The little known law has reduced the refunds of 3,587 taxpayers to cover unpaid parking, red light, speed camera and other traffic tickets.

The new law allows the District Department of Motor Vehicles to ask the Office of Tax and Revenue to reduce any refunds owed to an individual taxpayer by the amount they owe in fines. Affected taxpayers will receive a notice detailing the tickets and the offset. They can appeal the decision to the DMV, reports NBC 4.

Most of the taxpayers who will see slightly smaller refunds have tickets that are more than three months old, according to the DMV.

Licensed D.C. drivers owe about $40.7 million in outstanding tickets, according to the office of the District’s Chief Financial Officer.

NBC 4 reports that Virginia has a similar program to collect traffic fines and other debts like child support from tax refunds. Maryland doesn’t deduct refunds for traffic tickets but does allow offsets to cover other debts a taxpayer owes the state.

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