Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PA Takes Step 2 in Collecting Back Taxes

As a follow-up to this spring’s tax amnesty window, Pennsylvania’s Revenue Department is publishing the names of 39,000 tax delinquents on its website. The number of tax dodgers posted on the site is ten times larger than previous lists. In the past the department only listed delinquent companies, but now, Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell says the site shows the names, home counties and lien amounts for individuals as well. “This is something that we don’t do lightly,” says Hassell, “I don’t like to be in a position where we have to embarrass people into doing the right thing. But sometimes sending the letter or making the phone call doesn’t have the desired effect, and we don’t have any other choice but to do that.” The amnesty program offered earlier this year brought in $260 million. Last year PA Governor Ed Rendell promised to ramp up efforts to collect delinquent taxes by hiring 40 new revenue collection agents, but the department suffered nearly $9 million in budget cuts, so Hassell says those new positions were never created. Hassell says they are launching this program because it is the fair thing to do for residents who pay their taxes on time. And he thinks it will work, “Many times we would contact somebody and say, hey if you don’t get this resolved now then your name is going to be on the Internet as someone who doesn’t pay their taxes. And that will motivate them to make their payment,” says Hassell.

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