WASHINGTON — Parking tickets and traffic tickets are big business in D.C., and officials are doing more to go after drivers who don’t pay their fines.
Ticket payments that are late by 100 days are considered debts.
“They can report you to the credit bureau,” said John B. Townsend II, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It can impact your FICO score. It’s reported as a debt and that puts a ding on your credit score.”
Since 2011, the city has collected nearly $125 million in delinquent fines by using the District tax office and third party debt collectors, according to an evaluation by AAA Mid-Atlantic.
“They just deduct it from your tax return, if you live in the District of Columbia,” Townsend said.
Collecting fines by going after tax refunds isn’t unique to the District.
Townsend says the city of Chicago has a deal with the Illinois state comptroller’s office to collect delinquent ticket fines from tax refunds.
Colorado garnishes state tax refunds for a numbers of debts, including old parking tickets.
To force payment from D.C. residents, city officials can also block vehicle registration, and suspend or revoke licenses. Officials can boot or impound cars parked on city streets if the registration shows several unpaid violations.
“If you have a ticket, either pay it right away or contest it,” Townsend recommends.