Effective Sunday, November 15, 2015, the City of Chicago is offering a form of debt relief. On certain fines and tickets, the City will waive penalties, interest, and collection costs from now until December 31, 2015. This reduces the total amount due to the original fine or tax amount. For information about whether your debt is eligible, visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/fin/provdrs/accounts_receivabledivision/news/2015/october/DebtReliefProgram.html.
Under the amnesty program, consumers and businesses can pay outstanding parking and red light camera tickets, taxes and administrative hearing fines issued before January 2012 without paying additional charges. Payments must be made before the end of the year to take advantage of these fee waivers.
Given the City’s budget woes, it’s possible you’ve recently received notice of an unpaid ticket or fine from ten, fifteen or even twenty years ago. As noted by reporter John Byrne in the Chicago Tribune,
Faced with pushing through City Council a massive property tax increase and other fees as part of a 2016 budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to slightly soften that politically difficult package by offering an amnesty program for people who have unpaid tickets and back taxes they owe the city.
Under the program announced Friday, people or businesses with parking tickets and other vehicle violations and back taxes issued before 2012 would be eligible for amnesty. Emanuel’s office said applicants will not have to pay any late fees or fines added on qualifying unpaid debts between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15.