East Providence edits Homestead letter, continues to chase tax deadbeats
EAST PROVIDENCE — City Manager Peter Graczykowski informed his fellow East Providence Budget Commission members their concerns, as well as those of past City Council members, about the wording of the letter sent to residents for a Homestead Exemption Audit have been addressed.
Mr. Graczykowski, at a meeting of the state-overseers Thursday, Dec. 13, said one of the proof of residency options, a copy of Federal Income Tax filings, has been completely removed from the letter. Former City Councilors William Conley and Bruce Rogers initially balked at its inclusion. Commission member Michael O'Keefe seconded the notion.
The re-written letter includes state motor vehicle registration, state identification card or voter registration card, Social Security or bank statement and other other "reasonable" document such as a utility bill as a means of proving one's residence. Two of the aforementioned documents must be provided to the city upon return of the audit letter.
In addition, Mr. Graczykowski updated the audit schedule. The initial deadline for return of the audit letter is Dec. 15. The city will start the review process of each case immediately, ending on Feb. 29, 2013.
Those residents found not to have responded will be sent a second letter via registered mail on Feb. 1, 2013. It must returned by Feb. 29.
The final review of all cases will be conducted between March 1 and 14. Notification of denials will be sent out by registered mail beginning on March 15.
The revised tax rolls are expected to be certified by April 30. Tax bills will be mailed out on May 31.
The formal appeal process of all tax bills then runs from July 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, which in essence gives each property owner the ability to plead their case to that time.
Mr. Graczykowski also updated the commission on East Providence's participation in the State Income Tax Refund Offset Program.
He solidified numbers discussed at recent commission meetings. Either directly or because of its looming application, the city recouped some $2.1 million in back taxes through the offset program. Before the year ends, Mr. Graczykowski estimates that total to grow by roughly $300,000.
All told, Mr. Gracyzkowski confirmed about 20 percent of the roughly $11 million in delinquent accounts has been collected through the program.