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Late car tax payments cause headache to officials

Date Posted: 2003-05-17

Automobile owners in Okinawa are dragging their feet in paying required vehicle taxes this year. According to statistics published by the Okinawa Prefecture Car Tax Collection Bureau, only 56 percent of prefecture’s car owners had completed paying their last year’s dues by the March 31 deadline. Nationwide, 67.2 percent of car owners paid in time. The annual car tax slips are sent to car owners starting Apr. 1.

Bureau officials say many car owners blame the severe economic situation as their reason for not paying their taxes on time. “It has become increasingly common for people to procrastinate paying the tax. That has resulted in the prefecture having trouble with our finances, as the revenue we have budgeted is not there,” a supervisor at the bureau said.

The total amount collected for car taxes is also on decline. Officials say that many companies and individuals have switched to smaller cars, thereby paying less tax. The total number of cars in the prefecture is also declining slightly.

The 461,477 cars on Okinawan roads paid almost ¥16.5 billion in taxes last year, nearly ¥500 million less than a year before.

Tax officials are also reportedly increasing pressure on those who haven’t paid. For example, they have stepped up their efforts to seize assets from those who are more than a year late paying the tax and cannot or would not come up with the cash.

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