Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mayor Promotes Tax Amnesty Program for Richmond, City Council Approves on January 24

~City is only locality in State with authority to offer tax payment break~

At his monthly meeting with Richmond City Council, Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced his administration's desire to implement a tax amnesty program for Richmond city tax payers. The Jones Administration sought and won the authority to offer the amnesty program during the 2010 General Assembly and would like the relief to be offered between February 15 and April 15.

This is the second time in history that the city of Richmond has been authorized to have a tax amnesty program. The first time was in 1994 and was championed by then-Delegate Dwight C. Jones. The current authority was sponsored by Delegate Jennifer McClellan at the City's request. The Jones Administration will introduce a paper at tonight’s City Council meeting to implement the authorized amnesty program.

"Our first amnesty program will cover past-due real estate taxes, and it would waive any penalties to the real estate taxes owed by a property-owner," said Mayor Jones. "This program also helps us to provide some relief for those taxpayers who may still be adjusting to the new twice-yearly real estate tax collections." Any property owners who are late with the upcoming January 14 payment will have until April 15 to pay without penalty.

The Jones Administration is also proposing to reduce the City's interest rate on late taxes from 10% to the State rate (5% for 2011) for payments going forward; again softening the tax burden for those tax payers who may be unable to take advantage of the amnesty program. For 2011 only, the real estate interest rate is proposed to be 0% and the Administration will review the interest rate annually.

"These measures are intended to help people get their taxes paid," continued Mayor Jones. "The economy has caused so many hardships and we believe that these measures, if enacted, will encourage delinquent property owners to 'get right' with the City."

City Council approved the paper on January 24th.

The program would cover past-due real estate taxes, and it would waive any penalties to the real estate taxes owed by a property-owner. The property owner would still owe the real estate taxes plus the accrued interest. In addition, the property owner will be making the payment directly to the City – so no collection agency fees would apply.

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