Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Opens PA Tax Amnesty; New Program Waives All Penalties, Halves Interest on Back Taxes Paid by June 18

More than One Million In-State and 202,000 Out-of-State Delinquents Owe Back Taxes to Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today launched a 54-day Tax Amnesty program which waives all penalties and half of the interest for anyone who pays delinquent Pennsylvania taxes between April 26 and June 18, but stressed that no one is getting off easily and all will pay the taxes they owe.

"The vast majority of businesses and individuals who owe Pennsylvania taxes – 97 percent – obey the law by paying in full and on time," Governor Rendell said. "Tax Amnesty is a limited opportunity for tax scofflaws to settle up, and for taxpayers who have been flying under the radar to come forward. Although the tax amnesty program offers a break on the penalties and interest due, make no mistake – tax delinquents will still pay more than they would have if they'd paid their taxes on time."

Delinquent taxpayers – from every U.S. state and all Pennsylvania counties – owe more than $2.1 billion in back state taxes eligible for PA Tax Amnesty.

More than one million known tax delinquents live in Pennsylvania. Approximately 202,200, or 20 percent of all known tax delinquents, are out of state, including more than 93,600 in the surrounding states of Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia.

"We can't afford to ignore people and businesses that duck their tax obligations and break the law. They're not beating the system; they're only passing the buck to honest Pennsylvania taxpayers who already do the right thing."

The PA Tax Amnesty program, created by Act 48 of 2009, is intended to net $190 million for the current fiscal year budget.

Notices were mailed nationwide last week to more than one million delinquent taxpayers known to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue informing them of the online application process at www.PATaxPayUp.com.  

"More than 202,000 out-of-state businesses and individuals owe Pennsylvania back taxes and got notices last week letting them know that," the Governor said. "If they file and pay what they owe by June 18, we will significantly reduce the amount they have to pay, since penalty and interest fees can add up to more than the tax liabilities themselves."

As an incentive for individuals and businesses operating under the tax radar to come forward, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will only hold them responsible for filing and paying back taxes and partial interest dating back five years.

The Governor said there is another strong incentive for tax delinquents to pay what they owe. After PA Tax Amnesty ends, a 5-percent non-participation penalty will be added to all unpaid delinquent taxes. Tax Amnesty participants who become delinquent again within two years after the program ends will be required to pay back all penalties and interest that had been waived through the program.

More than 62 percent of the back taxes eligible for PA Tax Amnesty are owed by businesses in delinquent Pennsylvania corporation taxes, employer withholding and sales tax.  Pennsylvania personal income tax delinquencies account for 33 percent of the total.

Individuals and businesses that owe back taxes are encouraged to visit www.PATaxPayUp.com. In addition to the online PA Tax Amnesty application, the website answers commonly asked Tax Amnesty questions and provides step-by-step application instructions in English and Spanish.

Individuals must apply for PA Tax Amnesty online; no paper applications are available.  

All tax delinquencies reported through the PA Tax Amnesty program must be paid in full by June 18. Multiple payments may be made within the 54-day program, and payments may be made by check, money order, cash, credit/debit card or electronic funds transfer.

This is the first time in 14 years that Pennsylvania is offering a Tax Amnesty program to boost collections and help balance the state budget. The last tax amnesty program was held from October 1995 to January 1996; the state collected $93 million from 63,000 taxpayers during a 90-day period.

A toll-free hotline and call center featuring extended customer service hours is dedicated to the PA Tax Amnesty program. Taxpayers may call 1-877-34-PAYUP (1-877-347-2987) from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays May 1, May 8, June 5 and June 12.

For more information visit www.PATaxPayUp.com.

Media contacts:

Stephanie Weyant, Department of Revenue; 717-787-6960

Gary Tuma, Governor's Press Office; 717-783-1116



Editor's Note: A list of tax delinquents by Pennsylvania county and by state is available online at: www.PATaxPayUp.com, click on "Resources and Advertising."

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor



RELATED LINKS
http://www.governor.state.pa.us

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