Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell in a recent press conference touting the “overwhelming success” of the Pennsylvania tax amnesty program announced that the Department of Revenue will be getting even tougher with delinquent taxpayers. In a press release put out by the Department, the Governor said, “Throughout the amnesty program, I warned people and businesses that if they did not settle their back taxes now, things would get – as the ad said – ‘complicated.’ Now, it’s time to get even tougher on those businesses and individuals who did not pay up.”
The Department’s get-tough measures include: more frequently garnishing the wages of those who owe back taxes, holding more corporate officers accountable for the taxes their business owe, issuing more citations to businesses operating without a sales tax license, and publishing all tax liens online for public review. There is also an additional 5% penalty for eligible liabilities not resolved during amnesty.
While most taxpayers understand the importance of paying taxes and the need to pay their fair share, the get-tough measures outlined by the Governor are just the latest in aggressive collection procedures implemented by the Department. Such tactics include intercepting refunds and placing liens on taxpayers with assessments under appeal. When an assessment is under appeal, these actions are prohibited; therefore, taxpayers who experience these problems should not hesitate to contact the Department.
Under the new get-tough measures, will taxpayers contesting assessments find a Department lien placed against them published online? Given the continuing aggressive collection procedures used by the Department, one wonders if policy-makers view due process as an overrated virtue instead of a taxpayer’s right.
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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax-related matter.