HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Hollidaysburg Area school board is planning to file a civil lawsuit against the Central Tax Bureau of Pennsylvania Inc.
Centax had collected Hollidaysburg Area residents' earned income taxes and allegedly failed to remit $130,735 of that revenue from 2009-10 to the school district's tax office.
Centax allegedly owes income tax revenue to six of seven school districts in Blair County.
It has been sued in Blair County by Spring Cove, Bellwood-Antis and Tyrone Area school district for $53,273, $124,126 and $32,000, respectively.
Claysburg-Kimmel school board members last week said they are calculating how much revenue Centax owes their district before they determine their next step. Altoona Area spokeswoman Paula Foreman said that after repeated inquiries to Centax, the company owes the district less than $25,000, and the board has not discussed taking legal action.
The only Blair County school district not reporting revenue issues with Centax is Williamsburg Community School District.
"This has been a recurring problem of school districts and municipalities. The Central Tax Bureau did not remit timely tax revenues," said school district Solicitor Dave Andrews, whose firm represents Blair school districts.
The cases will be heard together in court, Andrews said.
The Bridgeville-based Centax closed doors to its 14 offices, including one in Altoona, unexpectedly in August, putting districts and municipalities "in a tough spot" for recovering tax revenue, Andrews said.
"We need to bring this lawsuit up while they still exist as a corporation," Andrews told the Hollidaysburg school board last week.
"We need to get on record against them to protect our interests," Andrews said, because Centax's responsibility of collecting income taxes is in transition to H.A. Berkheimer of Allentown. "A lot of public money is at issue."
The bureau's insurance may cover it, he said.
"But we want to get in line quickly for this kind of situation," Andrews said.
Attempts to reach a Centax official for comment were unsuccessful.
Centax has consistently been late in remitting tax revenue for the last four years, Hollidaysburg Superintendent Paul Gallagher said.
"It's been a nightmare from day one," Gallagher said. "[$137,735] has been paid by the people. That's what we are owed."
The board is scheduled to approve Andrews' recommendation to file a civil complaint at its Wednesday meeting.
"I think ultimately we will recover it," Andrews said. "But we want to get moving on it."
Mirror Staff Writer Russ O'Reilly is at 946-7435.