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Wilkinsburg hopes amnesty program encourages people to pay up

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

The Wilkinsburg school board on Tuesday approved a one-time tax amnesty program for delinquent real estate taxes in an effort to collect $16 million the district is owed.

The program will waive a 10 percent tax penalty, 100 percent of the accrued interest and 50 percent of the outstanding attorney's fees when the delinquent real estate tax, remaining attorney's fees and previously incurred costs are paid in full between May 1 and June 30, the district said.

Over the past few years, delinquent real estate taxes have been increasing, and now total $16 million. Fees and interest total $4 million, said Philip Martell, assistant director of business affairs for the district.

“It's a large dollar amount that's outstanding out there, so we have to get creative,” he said.

During the amnesty period, payment programs are not permitted for property owners who wish to take advantage of the amnesty waiver, the district said. People currently on a payment program may be granted amnesty for unpaid penalty, interest and half the outstanding attorney's fees when the delinquent real estate tax, remaining half of the attorney fees and previously incurred costs are paid in full by June 30.

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