Mayor Cites Tax Amnesty Program as Boost to Tax Collections

~$7.1 million collected is three times higher than the amount collected prior~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones reported on the city’s 2011 Real Estate Tax Amnesty program which took place from February 15 to April 15, 2011. The Jones Administration sought and won the authority to offer the amnesty program during the 2010 General Assembly session and the city of Richmond was the only locality authorized to have such a program.

"Our first amnesty program covering past-due real estate taxes waived any penalties to the real estate taxes owed by a property-owner," said Mayor Jones. "Through this program we were able to provide some relief for those taxpayers who may still have been adjusting to the new twice-yearly real estate collections, as well as just general relief in light of the tough economy we’ve been facing."

Taxpayers had until April 15 to pay without penalty. The program covered past-due real estate taxes, and taxpayers were able to make payments directly to the city so that no collection agency fees applied.

“This was an opportunity for taxpayers to ‘get right’ with their back real estate taxes,” said Mayor Jones. “I want to thank those city residents who responded to this opportunity as we realized a 66% increase in real estate tax collections during the amnesty period with a total of $7.1 million collected.” Twenty-one percent of the amount collected was tracked as a direct result of the amnesty program.

Future amnesty programs would require additional General Assembly action. 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 city did not use the authority granted at that time). The current authority was sponsored by Delegate Jennifer McClellan at the city's request.