C. Daniel Hassell

is Pennsylvania's secretary

of revenue

Time is running out to take part in Pennsylvania's tax amnesty, which waives all penalties and half of the interest for anyone who pays state back taxes by June 18.

Tax delinquents should act quickly to take advantage of this generous, yet limited, opportunity. The deadline is set by law, and will not be extended. At midnight on June 18, an additional 5 percent penalty will be tacked on to all outstanding tax debts.

Through June 4, there were more than 35,000 completed, or in-process, tax-amnesty applications, which would mean $94 million in much-needed revenue for the current fiscal-year budget. We still have a way to go if we're to hit the program's goal of $190 million.

During the state's last tax amnesty, 14 years ago, 74 percent of payments were submitted in the last two weeks of the program, so we know that many more taxpayers will be coming forward.

Those who duck their tax obligations are breaking the law, and they increase the tax burden for the 97 percent of Pennsylvanians who do the right thing by paying state taxes on time and in full.

Nearly 360,000 people in the Philadelphia area owe back taxes, and more than 62 percent of the taxes eligible for amnesty are owed by businesses in delinquent corporation taxes, employer withholding, and sales tax. Personal income tax delinquencies, which also include many small businesses, account for 33 percent of the total.

By midnight, June 18, online applications for amnesty must be completed and submitted electronically, and full payments for outstanding tax liabilities must be made electronically or postmarked.

Taxpayers can avoid the last-minute rush and apply now. Visit www.PATaxPayUp.com today to explore the program or apply online.

Assistance is available by calling 1-877-347-2987 weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., or by visiting a Revenue district office, listed in the blue pages of local phone directories.

E-mail C. Daniel Hassell

at Chassell@state.pa.us.