Confessions of a CAT tax evader, DMV fugitive

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The Taxpayers Association received this letter from a “friend”;

“When it came to purchasing a car, I had little choice but to flee the State to avoid the new Oregon Corporate Activities Tax (CAT) by crossing the Columbia River to make a purchase. 

After all, car prices hit a record high last year — an astonishing $48,000 was the average price of a car due to the supply chain crisis and inflation.  Who can afford this?  Then on top of these costs, car buyers have the new car sales tax the politicians passed in 2017 and the CAT tax passed in 2019.   These taxes punishes people for shopping in Oregon.

Upon purchasing the vehicle, I was given a four-week DMV trip permit as a temporary paper license plate.  Yet, the time for the arrival of my actual plates from DMV is expected to take as long as 8 weeks.  The dealer said most of his customers end up driving with expired trip permits because of Oregon’s delay (a delay much longer than Washington DMV he noted).

The dealer knew firsthand of several people who got tickets for driving without a license plate — despite it not being the driver’s fault.  It all depends on the mercy of the judge on whether the ticket will stand.

It has been four weeks with no license plate from DMV and I am now driving without any license plate and an expired trip permit. 

The only place I feel safe driving without a license plate is in Portland because the Mayor last year, suspended police from enforcing minor traffic violations in the name of equity/justice.    As a result of not enforcing these traffic laws, Portland saw a 30-year record high in traffic deaths.    I am now less likely to be cited for driving without a license plate but more likely to die of a fiery collision.   These are some of the everyday pick-your-poison decisions unique to Oregonians.”

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