Deducting wages from tax delinquents

Commenters weighing in on recent stories about tax delinquent city workers have questioned the city's authority to deduct up to 20 percent of the salaries of past-due workers. While it is true Philadelphia has no legal authority to deduct tax payments from the paychecks of non-employees, state law appears to give the city the right to do so when it comes to city workers. See the laws cited below:

§ 16084. Cities of first class may deduct delinquent taxes from wages of officers or employees

Any city of the first class shall have the right to collect delinquent taxes due to such city or the school district of such city by any public officer and employe, whose compensation is paid from moneys in the city treasury, by deducting from the salary or compensation of such officer or employe, semi-monthly or periodically, an amount not in excess of twenty per centum of the amount of any current salary or compensation due such officer or employe, as shown by the payroll from which such deduction is made as hereinafter provided.

§ 16086. City controller may certify name of employee to paymaster; payments may be deducted from salaries

The city controller shall have power in his discretion to certify the name of any city or school district officer or employe, whose taxes are delinquent, to the bonded paymaster of any department, board or agency of the city or school district, and direct such paymaster in submitting any subsequent payroll to deduct from the salary or compensation of such officer or employe such amount as the controller shall fix, not, however, exceeding twenty per centum of the amount of such salary or compensation payable at one payroll period, and to submit to the controller for audit a warrant for the salary or compensation of such officer or employe in such reduced amount, and an additional warrant drawn against the appropriation, for the payment of the salary or compensation of such officer or employe in favor of the receiver of taxes, equal to the amount by which such salary or compensation was so reduced. The paymaster shall accompany such warrant in favor of the receiver of taxes with his statement showing against whose delinquent taxes the amount of such warrant shall be credited, and the controller shall note on such statement of the paymaster the allocation of the amount of such warrant which he directs shall be made by the receiver of taxes as between the city and the school district. After audit by the controller, the city treasurer shall make payments to the officer or employe and to the receiver of taxes in accordance with such warrants. The statement of the paymaster and controller shall accompany each such payment to the receiver of taxes.

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