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Deadline Arrives For Disputed Arts Tax Payments

OPB | May 15, 2013 10:57 a.m. | Portland

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Wednesday is the deadline for Portlanders to pay the new city arts tax. Officials say they’ve already collected about $6 million of the nearly $9 million they’re expecting to receive.

Revenue bureau director Tom Lannom says $750,000 may come in Wednesday. He says people who miss the midnight deadline will have to pay a $15 late fee.

“There’s an additional $20 penalty that would be assessed on October 15, if the tax isn’t paid by then. We are hoping that will encourage people to make their payments on time. We are not going to actually try to collect penalties until after we have an opportunity to sit and talk to City Council on July 31.”

Portlanders with very low incomes, and those dependent on Social Security, or state or federal employee pensions, don’t have to pay the tax.

Two lawsuits are pending against the tax — both argue that it is an illegal “head tax” rather than a permitted tax on income.

Earlier this week, Mayor Charlie Hales announced he would release some of the tax money to schools, with the understanding that school districts would help pay themoney back, if courts rule the tax is illegal. 

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