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Local Tax Collection Law changes take effect

Changes to the Local Tax Collection Law went into effect on New Year’s Day, making it a requirement for collectors to establish a separate account for tax payments.

People across the state will now pay their local taxes a little differently.

Changes to the Local Tax Collection Law went into effect on New Year’s Day, making it a requirement for collectors to establish a separate account for tax payments.

House Bill 16, which amended the law, passed with unanimous bipartisan support in the state House and Senate last session.

Governor Wolf signed it into law back in October.

The Lackawanna County Controller says its to protect the public from potential fraud or misappropriation of funds.

New year, new changes.

Tax collectors across the state will have to comply with changes to the Local Tax Collection Law that went into effect on New Year’s Day.

It requires tax collectors to open a separate account for tax payment deposits, including the name of an office, title, position, or municipality, instead of a personal account.

The account also cannot be opened with the tax collector’s Social Security Number.

“Statewide there have been some problems over the years. Locally here, about ten years ago there was some mismanagement of funds in the Single Tax Office which created a problem,” Lackawanna County Controller Gary DiBileo said.

DiBileo says the Scranton Single Tax Office now has separate accounts for tax payments, and Dunmore Tax Collector Louis A. Paciotti, Jr. says his office does as well.

“The accounts are under the borough of Dunmore and my Social is not on the accounts. I did some early checking to verify that so that part of it is taken care of already,” Paciotti said.

Paciotti says he doesn’t expect the law to affect the everyday function of his job, except for how taxpayers will now have to fill out their checks.

“Residents paying local taxes should make checks payable either to “Tax Collector” or “John Doe, Tax Collector” and not “John Doe”, who may be their tax collector in his or her individual name,” DiBileo said.

DiBileo says that change will help protect taxpayers from potential fraud or misappropriation of funds.

Paciotti says his name and title are currently listed on his bill, but sometimes checks would be made payable in various ways.

Now that the law has changed, he says his office is ready to fully comply.

“You could put “Collector of Taxes” and maybe that’s the way we’ll do it. We have our bills prepared for us so that might be the simplest way,” Paciotti said.

Tax collectors have 60 days from New Year’s Day to transfer any money already in their accounts, unless they already have one that reaches the new requirements.

Any taxpayers with questions or concerns can call the Lackawanna County Controller’s Office at (570) 963-6726.

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