New York State suspended almost 9,000 driver licenses belonging to residents who owe more than $10,000 in back taxes — nearly half of them from New York City.
In all, the state froze 8,900 licenses — 4,194 of which came from the five boroughs, bringing in about $56.4 million in state and local tax collections.
The state's Tax Department records show an almost equal number of drivers with suspended licenses between Manhattan and Queens, 1,145 and 1,146 respectively.
Some 1,078 tax evaders in Brooklyn had their licenses cut off, as did 502 Bronxites and 323 Staten Islanders.
"We are sending a clear message to tax delinquents that they either have to pay the taxes they owe, or face real consequences," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
The major bust on tax evaders comes after a state law passed last year that linked licenses to tax delinquencies, notifying the first batch of violators in August 2013. Drivers get 60 days from the the mailing date of their first warning to set up payment for the tax bill. A second warning gives then an extra 15 days.
Of the 17,700 New Yorkers alerted to their impending suspensions, 6,500 or so paid their debts down, with another 2,300 ineligible for suspension.
Meanwhile, anybody with a suspension can apply for a restricted, which allows drivers to commute only between work and home.
"Thousands have contacted us to do the right thing – pay their tax bills in full, or work with us to arrange a payment plan that satisfies the debt," said Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox in a statement.
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