Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hertz Paid County Tax to Pa. in Error

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hertz Paid County Tax to Pa. in Error

Article excerpt

For more than a year, car rental giant Hertz collected the $2-a- day car rental tax but sent half of it to the state of Pennsylvania instead of Allegheny County.

Due to an "administrative oversight," Hertz sent part of the fee it should have paid at its Pittsburgh International Airport location, $435,577, to the state as sales tax, Hertz said in its response to an audit by the county controller's office released Tuesday. Controller Chelsa Wagner outlined the shortfall last month.

"There was not any willful intent to not remit the funds," Hertz audit manager Tiffany Bell wrote. "We made good faith efforts to comply with the law, and collect and remit to the county. The problem was corrected and tax is being properly remitted."

The underpayment occurred from May 2010 to June 2011, Ms. Wagner has said. Penalty fees totaling $205,020 and another $102,510 in interest bring the sum Hertz owes to $743,107, according to the county treasurer's office.

On Tuesday, Robert Miecznikowski, manager of the treasurer's special tax division, mailed a letter asking that Hertz pay that amount within 10 days or request a hearing on the matter. The company in its initial response to Ms. Wagner's audit agreed that the car rental tax was underpaid to the county, but requested an "abatement" of penalties since the mistake wasn't intentional.

Treasurer John Weinstein said he wants the full amount, penalties included.

Deputy county controller Amy Griser said Hertz would have the ability to seek a refund from the state, but whether the company has asked for one is unclear. A company spokeswoman said officials "continue to work with the county to get this matter resolved" but declined further comment.

A state revenue office spokeswoman said any interaction between that department and an independent taxpayer is confidential.

During the period in question, the amount the company paid to the county was about half of what it owed, according to the controller's office. …

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