THE TAX MAN COMMETH
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Mar 29, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
States Look to Raise Revenue on the Backs of Antique Vehicle Hobbyists It’s that dreaded time of the year known collectively around the country as tax time. With state coffers depleted, the government in Washington, D.C., isn’t the only one that’s after your hard-earned money. State governments are increasingly looking at collector and antique cars as a piggy bank they can crack open when they need to feed their bloated budgets. In Michigan, the birthplace of the American automobile industry, collectors and hobbyists take deserved pride in preserving these relics of a bygone era for future generations. It is ironic then, that the state which spawned these historic works of art is now looking to capitalize on their continued existence by increasing taxes and fees on them. Legislation (HB 5897) introduced this year in the Michigan Legislature threatens to change the $30 registration fee for historic motor vehicles (renewable every 10 years) to an annual fee. Under current Michigan law, the owner of an historic vehicle may also choose to use restored authentic Michigan plates from the same year as the vehicle’s model year for a one-time fee of $35. The bill would increase that one-time fee as well, to an annual registration fee of $30. Under the bill, each of the registrations would come up for renewal every year on the vehicle owner’s birthday. Supporters of this bill are ignoring the fact that these older cars are infrequently driven; they are second or third vehicles deserving of reduced registration fees. On the vehicle registration fee alone, this policy represents a 1,000% fee increase over 10 years. Other states have joined the parade as well. The SAN has tracked the introduction of a variety of new state bills which seek to raise taxes and fees, create vehicle registration surcharges and increase inspection fees to pay for new projects. States raising money isn’t the only concern, though. There has also been an uptick in the number of bills introduced which would negatively impact the ability of enthusiasts to partake in the historic and classic vehicle hobby. The SAN has been actively fighting numerous anti-hobby inoperable vehicle bills that would limit your right to work on cars on private property, scrappage bills that would destroy classic cars and parts, and exhaust system bills that would make restorations dramatically more difficult. Fortunately, we also have some friends in government around the country who are active in supporting the hobby through legislation. It is important to remain vigilant and informed so that together as a hobby we can continue to create victories over bad legislation that threatens our way of life. To stay up-to-date on all the legislation affecting the car hobby, visit www.SEMASAN.com frequently to stay informed, and protect your passion. Ethan Landesman Director SEMA Action Network