Runner Tells DMV to Stop Overcharging Tax

georgerunnerheadBy Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– George Runner has called upon California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to stop overcharging California consumers when they pay tax on their vehicle purchases.

Runner said, “It’s outrageous that the State of California expects private citizens to do things right that government is doing wrong.”

In a letter to DMV Director Jean Shiomoto, Runner writes: “I find it difficult to understand why your agency would knowingly continue to mischarge taxpayers when the Board of Equalization has developed an extremely accurate tool for determining tax rates at specific locations.”

The Board’s online tax rate lookup tool, launched in late 2013, enables taxpayers to find a sales tax rate for a specific address.

In his letter, Runner explains that DMV’s problem appears to stem from continued reliance on postal zip codes to determine tax rates. Since a single zip code can include areas with differing tax rates, zip codes are not a reliable way to determine tax.

Runner estimates that in his district alone more than 2.5 million Californians live in zip codes that have more than one tax rate.

Unlike most transactions, the tax rate for a vehicle sale is based on the location provided to DMV by the registered owner, not where the sale took place.

In response to Runner’s letter, DMV staff contacted Runner’s office indicating a desire to address Runner’s concerns but warning a solution could be years away.

Runner said, “I am happy to assist taxpayers overcharged by DMV in obtaining refunds, but they should not be overcharged in the first place. I don’t want to hear excuses. I want to see change.”

Runner says he will be pursuing additional outreach to taxpayers in his district to alert them to the possibility that they are paying too much tax.

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit

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