Parkwood residents talk tax amnesty

The final meeting of the season for the Parkwood Civic Association offered new beginnings to residents in the form of tax amnesty and recycling rewards.

With little new business on the agenda, the presentations got underway almost immediately, resulting in just a 60-minute meeting.

Tax Amnesty

Frank Breslin explains the tax amnesty.
(Frank Breslin explains the tax amnesty.)

The city’s tax amnesty program is halfway over, but there is plenty of time left for those who are behind to apply.

Frank Breslin, Deputy Revenue Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia, said “the program is for tax payers who are in any way behind in taxes.” This includes people who are looking for relief on both personal and business taxes.

The program allows for relief on 100 percent of the penalties and 50 percent of the interest, though Breslin said those who take advantage of the amnesty will still pay more than if they’d pay their taxes on time.

To discourage people from not filing taxes for the current year, the amnesty program does not apply to any taxes filed after July 2009. But it does date back to 1986 — the last time the city instituted an amnesty.

To date, the program, which began May 3,  has brought $4 million to the city. The goal is to reach $25 million to $30 million by the June 25 end date.

“I agree that we need to be tough on tax delinquents,” Breslin said. To that end, city employees who owe back taxes have their own program for doing so. Said employees were offered payment plans, and those opted to ignore incentive will have their paychecks deducted until the fees are paid in full.

Non-city employees aren’t off the hook, either. Those who participate in the program sign a document agreeing to the requirements, which include remaining compliant for three years. If a taxpayer in the amnesty program does not stay compliant (more than sixth months delinquency), the amnesty program will be revoked. Breslin said: “This is not a free ride for people who are participating.”

Recycling Rewards

Anne Misak, a representative from the city’s Recycling Rewards was on hand at the Parkwood meeting to review the program before the June 1 start date. Beginning next month, Northeast residents can start earning points for their recycling by signing up with the program.

The free, elective program allows participating residents to earn points to be redeemed at hundreds of businesses. “A household can save up to $100 to $400 a year,” Misak said, by recycling more and earning points for doing so. In turn, the city expects to save $1.5 million in the program’s first year.

Final Thoughts

President Mike Hatala thanked everyone for attending the meeting, especially those who attend regularly, for “helping the community to be more united.”

The Parkwood Civic Association won’t meet again until the Fall. Until then, Hatala said: “I hope everyone has a healthy and prosperous Summer.”

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