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Some Surprised By 'Clunker' Tax

August 24, 2009, 9:41 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Some Surprised By 'Clunker' Tax
The Cash For Clunkers program is adding to the activity at treasurers' offices all around South Dakota. First, people were asking for proof of ownership, so they could show they owned their vehicle for a full year, allowing them to cash it in. Now, they'll be returning to register their new vehicle.  And when they do, new owners need to bring every bit of paperwork provided to them by their dealer.

"That means they need their title, their damage disclosure, their bill of sale and the dealers have 30 days to get that to them," Minnehaha County Treasurer Pam Nelson said.

But many of those cashing in on the clunkers program are surprised when they get to the treasurer's office windows. That's because the government's rebate of up to $4500 dollars for every clunker is taxable, as a state excise tax.

"They didn't realize that would be taxable. A lot of people don't realize that. So they're not happy and kind of surprised when they find that out," Nelson said.

For now, the biggest impact of the program hasn't hit this office yet, as most of the paperwork is still in the hands of the dealers. But Nelson expects to see move activity in her office in the next month.

"I'm anxious to see what it's going to be like. I have no idea how many people we're going to see. Hopefully the dealers can process their paperwork in 30 days," Nelson said. 

And that's when the line at this office will give some indication of how many cars the government program moved off of local lots. 

Nelson adds that if you did recently purchase a vehicle, ensure your dealer gets you the paperwork in time because if they don't you could pay extra interest and penalties.

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