City looking to collect from tax delinquents

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond wants to collect millions of dollars from outstanding tax delinquents — and there could be a grace period to encourage collections.

As of January 31st, Richmond is owed more than $54 million dollars in back taxes. That includes personal property tax, real estate and business license tax delinquents. To encourage collection, Mayor Levar Stoney is proposing a tax amnesty period. But first, it would have to be approved by City Council.

For a limited time, the mayor’s proposal would allow tax delinquents to pay up penalty free.

8News has been told the mayor is also looking at a number of other options to increase collection rates, something the city struggled with under Mayor Dwight Jones’ administration.

Members of the city’s audit committee revealed Tuesday that there are about 5,800 tax delinquent properties in Richmond, but city staff is barely making a dent in tracking down those who owed. One member told the group,  “with the current staff, they are working at about 100 per year. At that rate, it will take 58 years to get through the current 5800 that we have.”

There is some talk of outsourcing that work to increase collections.

The mayor’s office tells 8News everyone needs to pay their fair share. They will also look at enforcing the existing law on those who don’t pay their taxes because it indirectly short-changes first responders and school children.

Meanwhile, Richmond’s City Auditor, Umesh Dalal, told the audit committee his efforts to audit the city’s tax collection measures have been halted by city finance officials, who for months declined to allow him access to the tax records. Dalal called it a part of being transparent, however, Richmond finance leaders say state law states they don’t have to share the information with the auditor’s office.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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