Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled a $40 million strategy yesterday that he hopes will nudge owners who owe delinquent property taxes to pay their bills.
Nutter projects the new initiative will generate $260 million in revenue over the next five to six years. The city was owed $248 million in delinquent property taxes in 2012.
“It’s not fair that the overwhelming majority of people do actually pay their taxes, and almost all have paid on time,” Nutter said, noting 91-percent of property taxes were paid the year in which they were due. “But that some choose not to.”
Of the estimated $40 million, $25 million will come from capital funds and $15 million from the operational funds over the next 5 years. The cash will be used to hire 55 new employees, establish a call center, and modernize the revenue department’s information technology system. Nutter’s plan calls for an integrated data warehouse tax system to track delinquent taxpayers and determine their rightfulness to pay.
The mayor said a new tax hardware system will analyze more complex data would also help capacity and efficiency issues. He added that expanding educational efforts would help taxpayers understand why paying their property taxes is important. He said he would also leverage collection agencies to increase enforcement.
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A property is registered as delinquent nine months after the city’s payment deadline expires. A delinquent property, by law, is slated for auction as early as nine months after it is registered as delinquent.
“Unless you are in a hardship situation,” Nutter said, “There really is no excuse.” Nutter said.