Philadelphia—The deadline for the City’s new tax amnesty program is June 25, 2010 and District Attorney Seth Williams reminds residents and business owners, who owe back-taxes, to pay their taxes now.
“The best way to avoid criminal penalties is to do the right thing; to pay in full on time.” Williams said in a news conference Tuesday. He was joined by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City Revenue Commissioner Keith J. Richardson.
It’s the city’s first tax amnesty program in over two decades. It allows tax delinquents to have all of their tax penalties waived and pay only half the interest owed, if the back-taxes are paid in full by June 25th.
Mayor Nutter praised tax delinquents who are already participating in the program. “You may be late, but at least you’re doing the right thing,” he said.
The city has already collected $7 million since the project was launched on May 3, 2010 and has received 9,400 applications from individuals and business owners who want to make good with the city. However, officials said millions of dollars in tax revenue is still owed to the City.
When Williams took office in January, 2010, he pledged that the District Attorney’s office will become Smart on Crime. “It means more than prosecuting street crime and violence better”, the District Attorney explained. “It means going after individuals and businesses that steal from the City and its taxpayers.”
Failure to make good on taxes owed to the City is a 3rd degree felony, Williams said. If found guilty a person could face up to 7 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
“We know who you are and we are doing our best to track you down,” Mayor Nutter added.
The District Attorney enacted a task force to prosecute individuals and business owners who do not pay their back taxes by June 25. He referred to the group of Assistant District Attorneys in the Economic and Cyber Crime, Government Fraud, and Insurance Fraud Units as “pit bulls,” who are very experienced in prosecuting white-collar crime.
“You can either cooperate and participate in the Philadelphia Tax Amnesty program, or meet me in Court,” Williams said.
Nearly all City tax debts from February 1, 1986 to June 30, 2009 are eligible for Philadelphia Tax Amnesty.
In order to take advantage of the program, individuals and business owners need to follow a few simple steps:
- Complete the Amnesty Application
- Register with the City (if needed)
- File all missing tax returns (if needed)
- Disclose all tax liabilities
- Pay all eligible base taxes and 50 percent of interest by June 25, 2010
- Stay compliant for the next 3 years
You can find more details on Philadelphia Tax Amnesty online at www.PhillyTaxAmnesty.com and by calling 1-877-645-4108.