Illinois gives in-state truckers more time to pay fee

| Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Illinois has extended the deadline for in-state truckers to pay the Commercial Distribution Fee.

According to a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, the state is delaying the deadline for intrastate trucks to pay the fee till Dec. 31, 60 days after the original deadline, Nov. 1.

The fee, which runs as high as $1,005, was imposed by the state in July. It is essentially a 36 percent increase in the registration fee for trucks and was passed as part of Senate Bill 841.

For trucks that run all of their miles in the state, last year’s fee of $2,790 was increased by $1,005 to a new total of $3,795. Some in-state truckers found out earlier this year that they would have to pay the fee by Nov. 1 or lose plates they already paid for this year.

Truckers with IRP plates will not be billed for the fee till their plates come due in March.

Mike Klemens, a spokesman with the Department of Revenue, said the extension was the result of negotiations between trucking industry officials and Brian Hamer, the state’s director of revenue.

“The industry said, we don’t have enough time, and Brian listened to them and tried to be reasonable,” Klemens said. 

The Department of Revenue contacted the organizations it worked with to officially inform them about the extension, as well as any truck owners who contacted the department to ask for an extension. However, the department does not have any plans to send a letter to all those who received the September letter informing them of the fee.

“I’m not sure we could get out a letter in time,” Klemens said. “If we had time, we’d send everybody a letter, but by the time we got all the letters generated and in the mail, they’d have already paid their fee.”

An official notification was also posted on the department’s Web site, www.iltax.com.

The department can only offer an extension, Klemens confirmed. Any further action, such as a payment plan, would have to involve action by the General Assembly.

The fee increase has caused enormous consternation among Illinois-based truckers. Several meetings have been held in the Chicago area, and a number of truckers and trucking companies have indicated the fee may force them to move out of the state.

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mark_reddig@landlinemag.com.

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