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Is it Legal for Iowa to Take Your Tax Return for Unpaid Camera Tickets?

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Tom Schmucker

Iowa means business when it comes to getting paid for traffic camera tickets.

I didn’t know it was even possible to confiscate tax returns for an unpaid camera ticket. I never thought of it as technically ‘legal’ since the on-going debate about the legality of traffic cameras is still in question by many and has gone to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Even an appellate court in Ohio ruled against traffic cameras in a class-action lawsuit, making the state give refunds to those who received a ticket. Does that mean precedent has been established by Ohio and a class-action lawsuit can be filed in Iowa, with similar results?

Davenport residents are getting a bit of surprise with their tax returns, as are many others in Iowa, I’m sure. If the ticket isn’t paid, they take the amount of the ticket and then some out of your tax return before you get your check. For instance, a $65-$75 ticket could cost $93-$100 before it’s all said and done, depending on the state’s charges for processing, etc…

I have also learned of credit ratings being effected as a result of non-payment and wonder if there are steps further the state can take by going after driver’s licenses and vehicle registration tags. I have been told that in order to fight a $75 ticket, it will cost $100 plus the cost of a lawyer, court costs and more. If you’ve ever been to court, you know it’s not the inexpensive route.

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