Register Your Car in RI or Else
Barrington's police chief and tax assessor continue to be on the lookout for vehicles registered in other states to avoid Rhode Island's tax; you want to get your name off the list of scofflaws.
You might have received a letter from Barrington’s tax assessor that your name is on a list of possible automobile-tax scofflaws.
If you did receive that letter, and your vehicle is definitely registered in Rhode Island, call Tax Assessor Michael Minardi to get your name off that list. If you don’t, it could mean a summons for an $85 fine.
Barrington Police Chief John LaCross said the police department has a list of more than a dozen owners of cars or SUVs or trucks that may be violating the state’s law on registration.
“You must register your vehicle if it is used or parked more than 30 days a year in total in Rhode Island,” said LaCross.
Even if the vehicle is a company car, he said, it must be registered in Rhode Island.
“Some of the people receiving the letters have switched their registrations” as a result of the letter, LaCross said. “Some have not responded.”
Failure to respond, said the police chief, could cost you $85.
“At least call Mike to give him an update,” LaCross said. “You want to get your name off that list.”
Some owners register their vehicles out of state to pay less or no tax on them, said Minardi. And Barrington wants that practice to stop.
"People are stealing thousands from the town,” he said.
It is not unusual to see license plates from Florida, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts in Barrington. There is no tax on vehicles in Florida and New Hampshire and the tax rates are smaller in Massachusetts and Vermont, he said.
“It’s wrong,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to do this. But it’s wrong.”
Many Barrington residents agree with Minardi, said LaCross.
“I got a call recently from a woman who reported a neighbor,” said the police chief.
Minardi said he gets complaints all the time about vehicles with out-of-state plates. A typical refrain? Why do I have to pay the tax and he doesn’t?
You don’t, both Minardi and LaCross said.
“Nobody’s chasing down someone living here for a month or two,” Minardi said. “We’re just making a more concerted effort to get those cars that should be registered here.”
Barrington loses $42 per $1,000 of assessed value when those vehicles are registered elsewhere.
“It’s not a lot of money,” Minardi said. “It’s the principle of the thing. They should be paying the tax. Why should you pay and your neighbor isn't?"