Council hearing notebook: Talking about the tax amnesty

Yesterday, City Council held budget hearings focused on the City Treasurer, Office of the Finance Director, and the Department of Revenue. One big item of discussion was the tax amnesty being organized by the Department of Revenue. Here's what Council, and the administration, had to say about it:

  • Overall, there was a lot of support for the tax amnesty, which would eliminate penalties and half of the interest due on delinquent taxes if payment is made during the short period when the amnesty is offered. Councilman Curtis Jones said he thought the program sent the right message and would encourage people to pay what they owe in the future.
  • Councilman Frank Rizzo asked how the administration planned to let people know about the tax amnesty. The city will spend about $1.4 million on advertising and outreach, said Keith Richardson, Revenue Commissioner. The Department of Revenue also plans to work with other public agencies, like SEPTA and Philadelphia Gas Works, to spread the word about the amnesty.
  • Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez raised the issue of making sure that tax amnesty information is also available in Spanish. According to Richardson, there are already plans in the works to publish materials in multiple languages.
  • The city hopes to raise about $40 million from the amnesty, minus adminstrative costs. It will begin on May 3 and last 53 days.

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