WARREN Officials propose amnesty for those owing income taxes

Legislation on dogs and on massage parlors also are on council's agenda.
WARREN -- The city's treasurer and tax administrator want to create an amnesty program for delinquent city income taxpayers.
An ordinance that would create the program is on the agenda for city council's meeting later this week.
"The amnesty program would be limited from Oct. 15 through Dec. 15 and would be available to all delinquent taxpayers and nonfilers," Tom Gaffney, tax administrator, told members of council's finance committee Monday.
The idea is to provide delinquent taxpayers with an opportunity to bring their income tax accounts up to date.
People taking advantage of the program who file delinquent income tax returns and pay the taxes due between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15 won't be charged penalties or interest on delinquent taxes.
Installment plans
Taxpayers filing delinquent returns who are unable to pay all of the taxes due during the amnesty period will be able to make payments through an installment plan. Installment payments must result in full payment of taxes, interest and penalties by April 15, 2003.
"We're going to promote this as much as we can," Gaffney said.
The department hopes to identify new taxpayers as well as go after delinquent taxpayers, he said.
Some council members inquired about how much income tax money could be expected to be collected through program.
"A tax amnesty program is a shot in the dark," Gaffney responded.
Some communities who have established similar programs have seen the identification of a lot of new taxpayers but not collected much more money. Other communities have seen the opposite result.
"When this is over, we're going to step up enforcement," Gaffney said.
Council members also are to consider legislation at this week's meeting dealing with regulation of massage parlors and dog registration in the city. Neither of those ordinances is expected to come to a vote.
Massage parlors
The legislation dealing with massage parlors would prohibit massages of people of the opposite sex. It also would prohibit massage establishments from employing unlicensed masseurs or masseuses or anyone younger than 18.
The dog ordinance would require registration of dogs with the city health department. It also would require owners of a vicious dog to keep the animal confined. It defines a vicious dog as one that has killed or injured a person or another dog without provocation or one trained for dog fighting.
Unconfined means the dog isn't confined indoors or in a securely closed area. The ordinance also would require the owner or keeper of a vicious dog to maintain liability insurance of at least $100,000.

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