UPPER DARBY— Township council is looking to retain the services of a municipal collections and audit agency to try to reap all of the business privilege mercantile taxes owed to the township.
Mike Hill of eCollect made a presentation to council Wednesday night about the regionally based firm providing services in, “discovering and auditing revenue that is currently missed,” particularly from businesses not located in the township that do business in Upper Darby. Hill suggests for the township’s size it could easily get $250,000, equal to about 10 percent of business taxes it collects annually.
“No matter how good the operation is, there’s always going to be money missed by the IRS, the state, local,” said Hill. “Having another set of eyes in there to scrutinize and bring in our proprietary system to that would enable Upper Darby to reap significant amounts of money.”
ECollect doesn’t charge for providing an audit, but has a 20 percent fee for the recovery of newly found funds within 90 days of assessment. After 90 days, the fee is 25 percent. Hill said discovery occurs anywhere from 85 to 95 percent of the time and audit is performed.
Councilman Tom Wagner asked Hill if there are any risks to the township in using this service, and Hill said there’s no downside.
“Having that program in place brings in money from the outside. You don’t have people coming forward voluntarily to pay that money to the administration,” added Hill. “A business will never come to the township saying ‘we were made aware by eCollect of our responsibilities and why is this due?’ They may not be happy with the results, but they’ll be knowledgeable and be dealt with courtesy and respect.”
ECollect has provided its audit and collection services to Chester City, Harrisburg, Media and Bensalem, among other municipality and school boards throughout the state.
There is no known firm doing this type of service for Upper Darby to collect business taxes. The township hired King of Prussia-based law firm Portnoff Law Associates Ltd. in September 2018 to help collecting decades-old sewer and trash fees. That firm only added legal fees to be paid by the persons whose payments were in arrears.
A formal resolution to secure eCollect may come at a future township council meeting.