Mayor’s office: Nearly $2.8 million collected during tax amnesty program

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney on Monday announced that the city’s 2017 tax amnesty program resulted in nearly $2.8 million in signed commitments or payments for delinquent taxes.

The program offered residents who owed the city back taxes a chance to receive substantial savings for a brief period of time.

“We chose to offer an incentive before initiating more aggressive collection measures for delinquent taxes,” Mayor Stoney said in a release. “Taxes pay for our schools, public safety and other critical needs; we took this initiative to increase our revenues now, and it worked.”

Those owing real estate, business personal property (excluding vehicles), business license, admissions, meals and/or lodging taxes, as of February 1, 2017, had an opportunity to pay the original tax amount owed, with all penalties and interest waived.

The amnesty program lasted two months, from August 15 through October 16. Vehicle personal property taxes and vehicle license taxes and fees were not eligible for the program.

The full balance due (less penalties and interest) had to either be paid in full by October 16, or a six-month payment plan with 25 percent down must have been arranged for those deemed eligible. The $2.79 in payments and payment commitments exceeded the city’s tax amnesty collection goal by over $390,000.

Richmond spent a fraction of the state’s marketing and advertising budget for the state-wide tax amnesty program still underway, and less than was originally budgeted by the city’s Finance Department to promote the initiative. Richmond invested just over three percent of the nearly $2.8 million secured for amnesty marketing and advertising, which included use of social media advertising for the first time in the city’s history.

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to all the Finance Department staff members who stepped up and worked evenings and weekends to serve our taxpayers and bring in this much-needed revenue to the city,” said John Wack, Director of Finance.

A full report detailing the overwhelming success of the 2017 tax amnesty program will soon be submitted to the Finance and Economic Development Committee of City Council.

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