April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Delinquent taxpayers fill Elyria City Hall

ELYRIA — City Council chambers was standing room only Monday, but it was not from residents hoping to see their elected officials in action.

Instead, subpoenas are what brought the deluge of people to City Hall. Scores of delinquent taxpayers were summoned by the Regional Income Tax Agency to clear up years of unfiled city tax returns.

City Auditor Ted Pileski said at one time more than 200 people were in the room, where three auditors worked to file returns, collect payments and set up payment plans, if needed. The subpoena program will continue throughout the week.

“It’s going to be a long week, but our goal is to bring everyone into compliance,” Pileski said.

Pileski said the biggest complaint was the wait, which for some people was a few hours. In an effort to lessen wait times through the rest of the week, Pileski said auditors will allow taxpayers to drop off old W-2 forms and other tax information so returns can be completed in their absence. Taxpayers will be contacted later.

“We will see what we can do to keep things moving along a little better,” he said.

However, Pileski said residents could have avoided the subpoena by responding to a letter sent in September. Hundreds of letters went out at that time and some taxpayers came to City Hall to file their returns, but many taxpayers did not.

The last time the city had a tax subpoena program it cost $76,000 but generated $461,000 in payments or payment plans from delinquent filers. That was in 2005. Pileski said he anticipates comparable numbers this year.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.