3-56-145  Vehicle tax liability.
   (a)   As used in this section:
      “Vehicle tax” means the wheel tax license fee required to be paid under this chapter, including any penalties associated with the fee.
   (b)   The comptroller shall establish and administer a system whereby the city notifies the Secretary of State of vehicle tax liability and the Secretary of State suspends the registration of vehicles for which the tax has not been paid. The system shall be operated in accordance with Section 3-704.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 625 ILCS 5/3-704.1, as amended. The determination of the comptroller that the vehicle owner has failed to pay the vehicle tax as required by this chapter shall be prima facie correct, and the protesting party shall have the burden of proving with books, records and other documentary evidence (including, but not limited to, affidavits submitted by the city clerk, or other affidavits) that the determination is incorrect.
   (c)   The system shall provide for the following:
      (1)   The comptroller shall send by first class mail to the vehicle owner at the owner's address recorded with the secretary of state a first notice for failure to pay a vehicle tax whenever the comptroller has reasonable cause to believe that the vehicle owner has failed to pay a vehicle tax as required by this chapter. Such reasonable belief may, but need not be, based upon a report from the city clerk stating that the vehicle tax is delinquent. The notice sent to the owner shall include at least the following:
         (A)   The name and address of the vehicle owner;
         (B)   The registration plate number of the vehicle;
         (C)   The period for which the vehicle tax is due;
         (D)   The amount of vehicle tax that is due;
         (E)   A statement that the vehicle owner's registration for the vehicle will be subject to suspension proceedings unless the vehicle owner pays the vehicle tax or successfully contests the owner's alleged liability within 30 days of the date of the notice;
         (F)   An explanation of the vehicle owner's opportunity to be heard under subsection (d).
      (2)   If a vehicle owner fails to pay the vehicle tax or to contest successfully the owner's alleged liability within the period specified in the first notice, the comptroller shall send by first class mail to the vehicle owner at the owner's address recorded with the secretary of state a second notice of impending registration suspension. The notice shall contain the same information as the first notice, but shall also state that the failure to pay the amount owing, or to contest successfully the alleged liability within 45 days of the second notice, will result in the city's notification of the secretary of state that the vehicle owner is eligible for the initiation of suspension proceedings under Section 3-704.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
   (d)   The vehicle owner may file with the comptroller a request for an opportunity to be heard under this subsection. The owner may contest the alleged liability either through an adjudication by mail or at an administrative hearing, at the option of the vehicle owner. The grounds upon which the liability may be contested shall be limited to the following:
      (1)   The alleged vehicle owner does not own the vehicle.
      (2)   The vehicle is not subject to the vehicle tax by law.
      (3)   The vehicle tax for the period in question has been paid.
      At an administrative hearing, the formal or technical rules of evidence shall not apply. Evidence may be admitted if it is a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. The hearing shall be recorded. The person conducting the hearing shall have the power to administer oaths and to secure by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of relevant documents.
   (e)   If a vehicle owner who has been sent a first notice of failure to pay a vehicle tax and a second notice of impending failure to pay a vehicle tax and a second notice of impending registration suspension fails to pay the vehicle tax or to contest successfully the vehicle owner's liability within the periods specified in the notices, the comptroller shall cause a certified report to be sent to the Secretary of State pursuant to this subsection. The report, which shall be certified by the comptroller, shall notify the Secretary of State of the vehicle owner's failure to pay the vehicle tax or related penalties, and shall contain the following:
      (1)   the name, last known address and registration plate number of the vehicle of the person who failed to pay the vehicle tax;
      (2)   an indication that the report is made by and on behalf of the City of Chicago;
      (3)   a statement that the city sent notices as required by subsection (c); the date on which the notices were sent; the address to which the notices were sent; and the date of the hearing, if any.
   (f)   A person named in a certified report filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 3-704.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code in accordance with subsection (e) of this section may, within 45 days of the date on the Secretary of State's notice to the person named in the certified report of the possible suspension as required by Section 3-704.1(f) of the Illinois Vehicle Code, file with the comptroller a written statement and provide books, records and other supporting documentation to challenge the certified report. The grounds for challenging the accuracy of the certified report shall be limited to the following:
      (1)   That the city failed to send notices to the alleged vehicle owner as required by Section 3-704.1(b) of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
      (2)   That the city failed to indicate the dates on which the notices were sent.
      (3)   That the city failed to indicate the date of the hearing, if held.
      (4)   That the alleged vehicle owner did not own the vehicle during the relevant tax period.
      (5)   That the vehicle is not subject to the vehicle tax by law.
      (6)   That vehicle tax for the relevant tax period has been paid.
   (g)   The comptroller shall notify the vehicle owner of the comptroller's decision. The comptroller shall also notify the Secretary of State whenever a person named in a certified report has subsequently paid a vehicle tax or whenever the comptroller determines that the original report was in error. The comptroller shall also give a certified copy of the notification upon request at no additional charge to the person named in the report.
   (h)   From time to time, the city treasurer and the city comptroller shall reimburse the Secretary of State for the Secretary's expenses in administering the vehicle suspension program as required by Section 3-704.1 of the Illinois Vehicle Code.
   (i)   Whenever a certified report is sent to the Secretary of State pursuant to this subsection, the comptroller shall assess against the vehicle owner a processing fee to reimburse the city for its expenses. The amount of the processing fee shall be $30.00, plus an amount equal to the amount that the city is required to reimburse the Secretary of State for the Secretary of State's expenses in suspending the vehicle registration of the vehicle owner.
      The fee imposed by this subsection shall be imposed only if the vehicle owner's registration is suspended.
(Added Coun. J. 8-4-93, p. 36336; Amend Coun. J. 6-10-96, p. 22858; Amend Coun. J. 11-16-11, p. 13798, Art. I, § 3)