Suburban Car Renters Get City Tax Shakedown

Enterprise suing Chicago over tax

The City of Chicago is hurting for money, so it's turning to the surrounding suburbs for cash via rental cars.

Last week, the city's Department of Revenue ruled that car rentals in all six counties (Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, and Will) are subject to Chicago's 8-percent transaction tax. That means that drivers who rent a car in the suburbs are now subject to a fee that was once only applied to Chicago rentals.

Consumers who do not want to pay the 8-percent tax must provide their rental company with a photocopy of their driver's license. They must also sign an affidavit, agreeing that no more than 50% of their driving will be in the city of Chicago.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has filed a lawsuit in Kane County.

"We feel it's an intrusion of privacy to ask for a copy of the driver's license and a sworn affidavit signed under penalty of perjury on where they might hypothetically use the vehicle," Stan Kaminski, an attorney for Enterprise, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jennifer Hoyle, a spokesperson for the city, feels the tax is appropriate however, especially "when the vehicles will primarily be used in Chicago."

What do you think? Should suburban car-renters who do a lot of city driving be taxed? Or is this an invasion of privacy? Leave your comments below.

Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, likes that new-rental-car smell.

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