City puts first property tax scofflaws on the auction block

The Law Department sent out a press release today announcing that it would be putting the first 45 tax-delinquent properties up for Sheriff’s sale tomorrow. This is all part of an effort to collect on tens of millions of dollars in unpaid property taxes owed to the city and the school district.

The entire press release is available after the jump.


Philadelphia, May 21, 2008 – The City of Philadelphia’s Law Department announced today that the first monthly Sheriff’s sale of properties for which it is currently represented by co-counsel, Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson, LLP, will be held at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, May 22, 2008, at 3801 Market Street. These Sheriff’s sales are part of an enhanced effort to collect delinquent taxes, the proceeds of which will be used to help fund the School District of Philadelphia and essential City services.

Forty-five properties owing approximately $1.8 million (an average of $40,000 over 14 years or more) will be listed for Sheriff’s sale on May 22. Linebarger expects to list an additional 95 properties owing $3.2 million at a June 26 sale, and 100 properties owing $2.4 million on July 24, 2008. Linebarger’s lists are attached. The City’s Law Department also continues to take properties to Sheriff’s sale on the third Wednesday of every month for delinquent real estate taxes and water/sewer bills. The next such sale is set for this Wednesday, May 21; the Sheriff’s advertised listing is also attached.

“Since last year, we have been warning taxpayers to settle their delinquent property tax accounts or make payment arrangements,” said Shelley R. Smith, City Solicitor. “Real estate taxes are a major part of our funding, both for the School District and the City’s general fund. Most Philadelphia residents pay their real estate taxes on time, but we must resort to selling the properties of those who refuse to pay.”

Between November of 2007 and today, the Linebarger firm has filed 2,350 civil tax actions for the City, with total amounts due of approximately $36.17 million. Information regarding the properties that have been the subject of civil tax actions filed to date can be found on the City’s website at [ ] The Law Department intends to remove names promptly upon notice from the firm that payment has been received in full or payment agreements have been made for which taxpayers are current.

These Sheriff’s sales are part of an enhanced tax collection initiative announced by the City in September of 2007, targeting delinquent taxes of all kinds including business taxes and real estate taxes. According to Smith, collections by the Law Department and its co-counsel were up by about 25% over the figures from the last fiscal year through March, the most recent month for which final figures are available.

As part of this effort, the City Law Department for the first time authorized the Linebarger law firm to petition for the sale of properties with real estate tax delinquencies, as the Law Department also continues to do. So far during the initiative, the firm has collected well over $20 million in delinquent real estate taxes for the City and School District of Philadelphia.

Taxpayers who receive notices and letters from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP may call toll-free 866-209-2747 or locally 215-790-1117 to speak with a taxpayer assistant. Payment arrangements are available for all financial conditions.

Linebarger has offices at 4 Penn Center and in the concourse at 1600 JFK Boulevard where taxpayers can meet with a taxpayer assistant and no appointment is necessary. The firm has a Taxpayer Assistance Office that is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The office is designed to make it easier and more convenient for taxpayers to get individual service.


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