The Alabama Department
of Revenue is asking all Alabama trucking companies to drop their
Oklahoma registrations and register in their home state. The department
is offering to forgive past property taxes for those who do, or
ticket those who don't.
On April 1, the International
Registration Plan imposed sanctions against the state of Oklahoma
for permitting third-party registration agents to allow interstate
motor carriers to use their physical address and telephone numbers
as the qualification for an Oklahoma registration.
Charles Crumbley, director
of investigations for the DOR told Land Line that before his men
began giving out tickets he had attended an IRP meeting in Washington,
DC, and had personally gone to Oklahoma to see the third party
registrars. "There are more than 30 agents that we know of,"
he said. "We found one in a hospital, one address is a vacant
lot, some in fancy office buildings. All have thousands of truckers
as clients." He went on to say he didn't quite understand
why an Alabama trucker would want to register in Oklahoma. "We're
ranked 43rd in the country in trucking fees, we can't be that
Carla Snellgrove, media
spokesman for ADOR, said the department is trying to get the word
out to motor carriers. "Check your tags to make sure you
are in compliance with your base-state laws and IRP regulations.
ADOR is stepping up enforcement. If you let it go, you may be
ticketed," she said. "Tickets will cost those who are
stopped with improper tags from $200 to $500 plus court costs."
According to a statement
released by ADOR, no additional Alabama IRP registration fees
will be charged for an expired Oklahoma license plate. The registrants
will not have to seek a refund of IRP fees paid to the state of
Oklahoma. Crumbley explained his department was trying to make
the exchange as easy as possible. "We are also doing audits,
so if they don't come in voluntarily their company may be hit
for all the back fees."
The process will simply
be a swap - an Alabama plate and cab card for an unexpired Oklahoma
plate and cabcard. There will be an issuance fee of $1.75 per
vehicle and any Alabama property tax and sales tax due must be
paid before Alabama IRP license plate and cabcard will be issued.
"We are only collecting one year's back taxes," Crumbley
explained. "The swap will be from the month they come in
to the end of registration."
Crumbley said registrants
have to meet certain criteria to swap plates. The criterion is available
from the IRP. Application forms are available in Montgomery at the
IRP office, Room 1239 of the Gordon Persons Building, online at
www.ador.state.al.us or by contacting the IRP at (334) 242-2999.
--Donna Carlson, staff writer