Treasury taking steps to help Pennsylvanians navigate Treasury services more easily
Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today provided an update on the Treasury Department’s efforts to remain available to serve Pennsylvanians, while the Commonwealth continues its efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19.
“During these difficult times, our number one priority at Treasury continues to be mobilizing to help Pennsylvania combat an unprecedented public health challenge. There are 13 million Pennsylvanians, and it’s going to take all of us to fight the spread of this deadly virus. Whether by expediting crucial state payments, establishing new resources for Pennsylvania savers and taxpayers, or gearing up to get unemployment compensation funds out as quickly as possible to Pennsylvania families, we are committed to serving Pennsylvanians through this crisis. That’s why we remain available by phone and email during these unprecedented circumstances, and enhancing the resources we have available online for taxpayers and savings program account owners.
“I applaud the 350 public servants at Treasury for their commitment to getting the job done and keeping essential governmental services up and running even with all the constraints they now face, and the extraordinary creativity and dedication they demonstrate every day.”
Pennsylvania State Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Bureau of Savings Programs
The Bureau of Savings Programs continues to be available to PA 529 and PA ABLE account owners through its call center and via email. All messages left after hours via voicemail or email are being returned within 24 hours.
For convenience, instructional videos have been added to the websites of each program that aim to help account owners with some common account questions, such as how to make a contribution, withdrawal, and change investment options. All of these functions are available to account owners by logging into their online account.
In addition to the new “Account Basics” videos on the PA ABLE website, Treasury added a page of resources specifically for individuals with disabilities who may experience additional challenges during this period of mitigation efforts.
Bureau of Unclaimed Property
Treasurer Torsella waived all penalties, fines, and assessments of interest for businesses in Pennsylvania who are unable to report unclaimed property by the statutory deadline of April 15, due to significant disruptions caused by COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
While the Unclaimed Property call center remains closed, potential claimants can still access forms to begin the claims process online.
Bureau of Fiscal Review
By law, Treasury must review Commonwealth payments before they are paid to ensure they are lawful and correct. Treasury has established special procedures to expedite critical payments relating to Commonwealth efforts to support health care providers in the front lines against the coronavirus. Since Treasurer Torsella’s teleworking policy took effect on March 16, Treasury has audited and processed more than 31,000 Commonwealth payments and printed nearly 160,000 checks for mailing.
Bureau of Unemployment Compensation Disbursements
Treasury has a specific bureau dedicated to the disbursement of unemployment compensation benefits. Treasury is redeploying resources and implementing special processing measures to meet the increased volume of claims for benefits.
Prior to the Commonwealth’s coronavirus mitigation efforts, an average of 68,000 unemployment compensation payments were disbursed over the course of one week. On March 30 alone, Treasury disbursed 95,000 payments to those who applied following the closure of businesses across the Commonwealth in mid-March.
Board of Finance & Revenue
The Board of Finance & Revenue is now conducting all public hearings telephonically, in order to protect public health while enabling Pennsylvanians to proceed with their appeals. Board personnel are available to receive electronic filings of tax appeals, liquid fuels claims and other correspondence via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board will grant leniency to parties who file appeals late due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. The Board will also grant deadline extensions for responsive pleadings due to disruptions caused by the public health emergency. More information about the operations of the Board of Finance & Revenue is available to taxpayers here.
For the latest information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding the coronavirus, please click here.