According to City Revenue Commissioner Clarena Tolson's count, Philly is on target to collect the amount of back taxes they set out to collect at the beginning of this year. While that might not sound like cause for celebration, it's a huge improvement over the previous state of affairs, in which the city's tax delinquency problem got worse, not better, every year.
Ms. Tolson, who was appointed just nine months ago, said that her department is focused on collecting taxes before properties become delinquent, and that they're handing delinquent accounts over to collection agencies much more quickly than in the past.
The Department of Revenue is also focusing its efforts on collecting taxes from high value accounts. They're revoking business licenses on tax delinquent properties, and, in some cases, sequestering the income earned from the properties until taxes have been repaid.
The city has also been sending more properties to sherriff sale: about 600 properties are put up for sale each month. Even the state legislature is working to end Philly's tax collection epidemic: last month, Governor Corbett signed a bill which allows Philadelphia to put liens on properties outside the city, allowing the city to target the private homes of outside investors sitting on tax delinquent properties within the city. Though all progress is incremental, it seems that the city's efforts are slowly moving in the right direction.
· Signs of progress in delinquency fight [Plan Philly]
· How Much Can Philly Expect to Collect in Unpaid Property Taxes? [Curbed Philly]