ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania

Rendell touts Pennsylvania tax amnesty program outreach

| Monday, April 26, 2010

HARRISBURG — A $3 million television ad campaign will help the state collect at least $190 million in back taxes through an amnesty program that runs today through June 18, Gov. Ed Rendell said.

Delinquent taxpayers can skip penalties and half of the interest through the 54-day program, which Rendell resisted during last year's budget negotiations. The 2010-2011 state budget depends on collecting that $190 million from 1 million people and companies owing back taxes. The state is owed $2.1 billion in back taxes.

The TV ads emphasize that the state knows where tax delinquents are, suggesting "we're coming after you anyway," Rendell said at a news conference. The statewide multimedia campaign was a provision of the amnesty legislation, which was one component of the package that helped resolve the 101-day budget impasse last October without a major tax hike.

The ads using computer technology show an aerial view of the United States that eventually focuses in on a property in Pennsylvania.

Rendell said he is impressed by the media campaign to convince tax cheats they might as well take advantage of the program.

According to the state Department of Revenue, there are 79,484 delinquents in Allegheny County, 16,732 in Westmoreland, 8,185 in Butler, 10,726 in Washington, 8,362 in Beaver, 2,588 in Armstrong, 6,100 in Fayette and 1,500 in Greene.

Rep. John Bear, R-Lancaster, who spearheaded the effort, said he is glad Rendell is now on board. In the end, what counts is if it "helps taxpayers and reduces delinquencies," Bear said.

Taxpayers may get information about the program through this Web site or 1-877-34-Payup.

A person who owes $1,500 in back taxes would normally owe $2,044 with penalties and interest. Under the program that delinquent taxpayer would owe $1,584, Rendell said.

A corporation owing $4,000 in back taxes now faces $5,983 in penalty and interest. If the company takes advantage of the tax forgiveness program, the company would owe $4,131 — a difference of $1,852, Rendell said.

Of tax delinquents, 62 percent are corporations, according to the governor's office.

"No one is going to get away with not paying their taxes," the governor said. "Everyone will pay more than if they had paid their taxes on time."

Twenty percent of the taxpayers live out of state, the governor said.

The tax amnesty program is the first in 14 years.

Staff Writer Matthew Santoni contributed to this article.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me