City starts business tax amnesty program

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City tax collectors have created an amnesty program to ease the tax burden for business owners who are delinquent – and bring in some much needed revenue for the city.

Starting today, business owners who have not paid taxes have until Aug. 14 to enter an agreement that will allow them to pay a 6-percent late fee instead of the usual 18 percent interest late fee.
City Revenue and Collections Division Manager Candice Bridgers said she expects the program to bring in between $500,000 and $1 million.

“That’s a very conservative estimate,” she said. “We want to set our goals conservatively, but we’re being very aggressive about letting businesses know about this.”

Bridgers said when the City of Denver instituted an amnesty program in 2003, the city collected $5.1 million during one month. When the state did it during the same year, tax collectors brought in $7.7 million.

“This will benefit the city, because it needs money, and benefit business owners who are under the strain of the economy,” she said.

Bridgers estimates that 10 percent of the city’s businesses are behind on tax payments, but believes unlicensed businesses or business that are unwittingly racking up tax bills could benefit from the program the most because they’re usually caught unaware and would normally face a 10 percent fine along with the 18 percent interest.

“This is a good break for them,” she said. “We’ve already had a lot of calls about it this morning.”

For more information, call 385-5903 or visit the city’s Web site.