Tax Amnesty Program starts Tuesday

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Today, the City of Richmond begins its two month long Tax Amnesty Program.

Millions of dollars are missing from the tax payment office inside Richmond's City Hall. Homeowner Dawn Jordan has paid her bill, but knows one day she could find herself in trouble.

"Sometimes it hard because things come up especially if you have children. Hardships do come up," says Dawn.

It's those hardships that have fallen on about 9,500 homeowners in Richmond. Some of the past due real estate bills go back to 20 years ago.

Tony Leone works in the city's finance department. He is optimistic about the amnesty program. "It's the first time we are doing this so we aren't sure how it'll go. But, other localities in the country and the state here have had success with it."

Right now, the city is hoping to get about a 10% return on late bills. That would be about $2-3 million going right into the city's general fund.

Here's the plan. You can take advantage of the program if your taxes are overdue. You will pay the real estate taxes, plus interest owed. But any penalties will be waived. The city did this to help you pay back what you owe and because of a change in the tax billing this year.

So, while things were kind of slow at City Hall today, the hope is things will pick up as the April 15 deadline to cash in nears.

Meanwhile Dawn hopes programs like this make a return in the future. "I would fight for this right again because who knows what hardships may come my way and I may need this opportunity to save."

You will be able to find out if you are eligible for the program by checking your mailbox this week. There will be a postcard and letter coming to your home.

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