Pennsylvania tax amnesty exceeds revenue expectations

    Pennsylvania’s tax amnesty effort collected $71 million more than expected.

    Pennsylvania’s tax amnesty effort collected $71 million more than expected.

    That will help reduce the state’s $1.2 billion deficit.

    A surge of applications in the tax amnesty window’s final days led to a total haul of $261 million.

    $16 million of the surplus will pay for the cost of the effort, and another five million dollars is headed to the Motor Vehicles Fund.

    The rest will be applied to the General Fund.

    Governor Rendell says he wants the Revenue Department to keep going, and collect more unpaid taxes.

    “The total outstanding tax liability is $2.1 billion,” says Rendell. “And our estimates are that, just based on the time of some of those outstanding liabilities, well over a third of that – just over $800 million – is collectable. And that means there’s another $550 million dollars out there to be collected.”

    Rendell is now asking for a $2.3 million dollar increase in the department’s budget request, in order to hire 40 more Revenue agents.

    The commonwealth is assessing an additional five percent penalty on back taxes that weren’t settled during the amnesty window.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.