City of Detroit extends tax amnesty program

(WXYZ) - The City of Detroit has extended the deadline for their tax amnesty program to March 2.

Mayor Dave Bing announced "Help Yourself.  Help Detroit,"  a tax amnesty program for individuals and companies who have not paid income taxes.

Since the start of the program on January 22, more than 3,000 individuals and companies have participated, according to a news release. City officials are expecting to generate $4 million with the program.

Anyone who has not filed income tax returns or has an outstanding balance from tax years 2011 and prior is eligible. This includes people with joint incomes, employee withholding, and partnerships.

"The City will not be writing off delinquent balances," Mayor Bing said. "After the amnesty period, we will take more aggressive collection actions, including providing delinquent reports to credit agencies."

"Help Yourself. Help Detroit." is part of Bing's plan to generate $50 million in 2013.

Detroit's tax code requires all residents who earn over $600 in a calendar year to pay income taxes, regardless of work location. All non-residents who work in Detroit for any amount of time and earn over $600 in a calendar year must also pay income taxes to the city.

"Normally an amnesty program that waives some or all penalties has a deadline," Charfoos & Christensen, P.C. tax attorney Ted Kedzierski said. "If you miss a deadline, the government can take any necessary action, including garnishment, writs of execution, or attachment."

People who want to pay by mail may use cashier's checks, personal checks, and money orders. These along with cash, debit and credit cards are accepted in-person. An additional 2.5% service fee applies to debit and credit cards.

Bing plans to collect the other $50 million by gathering unpaid fees from airport services, solid waste services, business licenses, personal property taxes on business equipment, and parking fees. He also plans to sell Detroit's unused property and abandoned vehicles.

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