Texas Vehicle Registration is a Sham.
When I moved to Texas from California I went to register my vehicle. The clerk told me my SSN was required to get my vehicle registered. I wondered about this recently and went to lookup the actual law. My findings were that not only am I not required to provide my SSN for vehicle registration, but that I'm in fact not even required to register my vehicle in the first place!
This isn't the first time I was lied to by a State employee, when I applied for a Texas ID card I was told a SSN was required when in fact it is only required for a Driver License, and even then only if you actually have a SSN.
Here is correspondence I had with Texas DPS after the fact:
From: Lucky 225 [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2005 12:41 AM
Subject: Identification Card
To whom it may concern:
I moved to Texas a couple of years ago and I applied for an Identification card within the first week I had arrived. I was deceived by the DPS employee into believing that disclosure of my SSN was required pursuant Texas state law. However, after reviewing the Texas DPS website, and studying statutes and their history, I found that disclosure of the SSN was only required for a driver license, not an identification card. I feel defrauded as I disclosed this information under the influence of a State employee who compelled me to disclose such information when it was not required by law, which by the way is illegal under Title 42 USC 408 which states:
"(a) In general Whoever -
(8) discloses, uses, or compels the disclosure of the social security number of any person in violation of the laws of the United States;
shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both."
I am therefore writing this letter to ask if there is any way that I can have said number removed from DPS' records, and what action I must take to get such information removed.
Thanks in advance,
Dear Mr. [omitted]:
This is in response to your email concerning your Texas Identification number.
Please accept my sincere apology for any misinformation you were given with regards to the issuance of your Texas identification card. A social security number is not required to obtain a Texas Identification card. However, once the Social Security Number becomes part of the driver record, we are not authorized to remove the information from the record.
Please be assured that your social security information entered on the driver record is confidential and is not printed on the actual Identification card. In accordance with Texas Administrative Code 521.044 disclosure of the Social Security number by the Texas Department of Public Safety may only be disclosed to child support and law enforcement agencies.
Once again, we apologize for the misinformation you received and any inconvenience you encountered as a result of this situation. If you should have additional questions, please feel free to contact a License Issuance Representative at (512) 424-5089.
Administrative Assistant II
OK, so, let's look at the statute that supposedly required me to give my SSN when I registered my vehicle:
|Texas Transportation Code|
§ 501.0235. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF TITLE APPLICANT: AUTOMATED REGISTRATION AND TITLE SYSTEM.
(a) The department shall require an applicant for a certificate of title to provide the applicant's social security number to the department.
(b) The department or the county shall enter the applicant's social security number in the department's electronic database but may not print that number on the certificate of title.
(c) This section applies only in a county in which the department's automated registration and title system has been implemented.
Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, § 30.38(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (emphasis added)
The key here is Certificate of Title, I didn't apply for a Certificate of Title, I opted to keep my out-of-state Certificate of Title and apply for Registration Purposes Only pursuant to Texas Transportation Code § 501.029(b)
|Texas Transportation Code
§ 501.029. USE OF REGISTRATION RECEIPT OR TITLE RECEIPT TO EVIDENCE TITLE.
(b) The department by rule may provide for the issuance of a receipt that evidences title to a motor vehicle for registration purposes only. The fee for application for the receipt is the fee applicable to application for a certificate of title.
Then I found out that the clerk had actually processed my Registration Purposes Only application using the Certificate of Title application that has an SSN field on it, but that is obviously not required since I was not applying for a Certificate of Title.
The clerk could have easily used VTR-272 Application for Registration Purposes Only available at: Vehicle Title Forms (VTR-272 link may change but should be available on the link above.)
The VTR-272 form does not even have a field for a SSN.
So I went to check Chapter 502, as that that is the chapter regarding Vehicle Registration, Chapter 501 is only in regards to Certificate of Titles. I didn't find any laws requiring me to provide an SSN for registration, but what I did find was that registration may not even be required in the first place!
|Texas Transportation Code
§ 502.002. REGISTRATION REQUIred; GENERAL RULE.
(a) The owner of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer shall apply for the registration of the vehicle for:
(1) each registration year in which the vehicle is used or to be used on a public highway;and
(2) if the vehicle is unregistered for a registration year that has begun and that applies to the vehicle and if the vehicle is used or to be used on a public highway, the remaining portion of that registration year.
(b) The application must be made to the department through the county assessor-collector of the county in which the owner resides.
(c) A provision of this chapter that conflicts with this section prevails over this section to the extent of the conflict.
(d) A county assessor-collector, a deputy county assessor-collector, or a person acting on behalf of a county assessor-collector is not liable to any person for:
(1) refusing to register a motor vehicle because of the person's failure to submit evidence of residency that complies with the department's rules; or
(2) registering a motor vehicle under this section.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, § 30.44(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (emphasis added)
So it would appear that a person would be required to register a motor vehicle, except if there was a conflict pursuant to 502.002(c), well as odd as it may seem, I found a conflict right below it in § 502.003
|Texas Transportation Code|
§ 502.003. REGISTRATION BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION PROHIBITED.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a political subdivision of this state may not require an owner of a motor vehicle to:
(1) register the vehicle;
(2) pay a motor vehicle registration fee; or
(3) pay an occupation tax or license fee in connection with a motor vehicle.
(b) This section does not affect the authority of a municipality to:
(1) license and regulate the use of motor vehicles for compensation within the municipal limits; and
(2) impose a permit fee or street rental charge for the operation of each motor vehicle used to transport passengers for compensation, other than a motor vehicle operating under a registration certificate from the department or a permit from the federal Surface Transportation Board.(emphasis added)
Call me crazy, but is the county assessor-collector of the county NOT a political subdivision of the State of Texas, is a peace officer not working for a political subdivision of the State of Texas, is any County Judge not working for a political subdivision of the State of Texas? It seems to me that registration is not required unless you own a motor vehicle that you are using for compensation, pursuant to §502.003(b). Further, for those of you that didn't happen to purchase your vehicle out-of-state such as myself, I'd like to show you a law regarding Certificate of Titles:
|Texas Transportation Code|
§ 501.004. APPLICABILITY. (a) This chapter applies to a motor vehicle owned by the state or a political subdivision of the state. (emphasis added)
It appears you're not even required to obtain a Certificate of Title *OR* register your motor vehicle in Texas.