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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ready to Pay Portland's New $35 Arts Tax? Because Now You Can!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM

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Portland's controversial new arts tax looked like it was going to die last fall—thanks to some deeply flawed polling that showed it in trouble, and a concerted push by the Oregonian and others to stick in the knife and then give it a twist or two for good measure. But then it surprised everyone, passing with remarkably robust support (62 percent), before largely dropping off the city's radar.

Until tax season, apparently. The city's complicated $35-per-income-earner tax is coming due this April 15, and officials in Portland's revenue bureau today unveiled a new website, artstax.net, they really, really, really want you to use to pay your bill. And the city really, really, really wants you to go online by March 25, so it can scrub your name off the list of households due to receive a paper form in the mail.

As Willamette Week has reported, the city anticipates spending more than $1 million of the tax's expected $9 million in revenues collection. So, yeah, every bit saved on postage counts.

"We tried to create a convenient payment option that helps avoid the cost and environmental impact of mailing paper forms, thus maximizing the money to local schools and non-profits,” Revenue Bureau director Thomas Lannom said in a release.

The site comes a little more than a week after KATU kicked up a modest fuss by asking how things were moving along all these months after election day. The station was something would be up by March 4.

As for how much you owe and whether you have to pay or not? Good luck getting out of it. Anyone who earned taxable income in 2012—even if that income came from unemployment checks—has to pay. Unless, that is, your household income fell under the federal poverty line. Which it might have. But probably not, since the poverty line is comically low. You can also try to lie. But that would make you a bad person. So don't.

Update 5:15 PM: I've asked the Revenue Bureau about this comment from Erik...

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