Proposed Del. Bill Targets Delinquent Taxpayers - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Del. Bill Targets Delinquent Taxpayers

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SEAFORD, Del. - As the saying goes, "there's nothing certain but death and taxes." But in Delaware, many have been skipping out on the latter, at surprisingly high levels. More than $32 million is owed to Delaware school districts in delinquent taxes. Below is a look at the total tax delinquencies by school district and county over the last five years: 

New Castle County:

             Appoquinimink                       $1,887,436.12
             Brandywine                            $2,800,880.49
             Christina                                $5,512,378.04
             Colonial                                 $3,714,979.20
             Red Clay                                $4,356,238.61
             Smyrna                                  $   173,278.24
             VoTech (Polytech)                  $     19,607.10
             VoTech (New Castle)              $1,682,942.79        
             Total for NCC $20,147,740.59

Kent County:

             Caesar Rodney                       $   726,348.29
             Capital                                   $1,953,670.62
             Lake Forest                            $   685,631.99
             Milford                                   $   221,652.72
             Polytech                                $   417,886.15
             Smyrna                                  $   666,805.06
             Woodbridge                             $   48,445.77       
            Total for Kent $4,720,440.60

Sussex County:

            Cape Henlopen                        $1,385,644.76
            Delmar                                    $   306,423.90
            Indian River                             $2,437,659.84
            Laurel                                     $    728,236.64
            Milford                                    $    452,149.21
            Seaford                                  $     837,276.17
            Sussex Tech                          $     638,004.32
            Woodbridge                            $    713,410.41      
            Total for Sussex $7,498,805.25.

Now Rep. Daniel Short, a Republican legislator from the Seaford area, is looking to address this problem through House Bill 85. This legislation would allow for the county to intercept tax refunds from those who are delinquent on their school taxes. 

"I'm not a big tax guy," Short said. "But if we're going to put taxes in place, we ought to be able to collect it."

Short said the increases in revenue would be especially important for the school districts that are currently making claims of shortfalls in their district budgets. These calls have become more pronounced amidst all the recent referendums in places like Milford and Seaford. 

At the Seaford School District, administrator Joanna Adams said the changes would offer a valuable tool for the district. 

"It's certainly not going to solve the problem," she said. "But it definitely helps." 

Short said that before intercepting the tax refunds, the county would first contact the person to try and set up a payment plan. It's only if the person does not cooperate, that those refunds would be withheld. 

The bill was voted out of committee on June 10, 2015, and awaits introduction in the Senate. 

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