Amnesty Feed

Sorry for the Postal Service style headline, but states have gone tax amnesty crazy! Which prompts the question, what's up with them and taxpayer friendly programs in this economy? First a batch of states held sales tax holidays this month. Texas' tax-free weekend this weekend will close the August events, but more are scheduled in the fall.Now some states are letting folks who owe off the tax hook. OK, off the hook might be a bit extreme. What's happening is tax amnesty periods. They've been going on for the last couple of months in Florida, Nevada and New Mexico (as... Read more →

As the second half of 2010 rolled in, it brought with it tax amnesty programs in several states. You know the drill. If you owe taxes, your state revenue office will take what's due and forgive at least some of the penalties and interest. The states also usually promise not to file potential criminal charges. Even better, you could get a firm cut-off date with regard to future look backs into your tax filing (or nonfiling) history. Some of the pay-without-penalty programs are for overdue individual taxes. Other states are saying "we forgive you" just to businesses that owe. And... Read more →

George Orwell, Pennsylvania tax collector

Hey, Pennsylvanians, if you owe back taxes the state wants to make sure you know that it knows all about you. It's May 2010, but the Keystone State revenue office has been airing this "1984" style television ad promoting its tax amnesty program that runs through June 18. I don't know how many folks the commercial has prompted to participate in the amnesty, but judging from reaction I'm reading online, it has succeeded in creeping people out. Yes, we know that based on our past tax returns, various government-issued licenses we hold and even our credit records, Uncle Sam and... Read more →

For most taxpayers at both the federal and state levels, tax filing season wrapped up earlier this month. But some folks always seem to overlook their tax responsibilities. Well, they could be getting a second chance to make things right with their state tax officials if they live in Massachusetts, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Yep, tax amnesties in those states are underway or will be later this summer. Under these amnesty programs, individuals and businesses that haven't filed get a chance to pay what's due and escape some of the usual penalty and interest charges. While it might seem counter-intuitive for... Read more →

Do you owe back taxes to the Keystone State? Then mark April 26 on your calendar. Beginning that day and running through June 18, some delinquent Pennsylvania taxpayers can apply to the department to participate in the state's tax amnesty. Qualifying taxpayers will be required to file an amnesty return with the Department of Revenue and pay all delinquent taxes. But they'll only have to pay half of the interest that had accrued on the tax debt and all penalty charges will be waived. In addition to personal income taxes, a wide variety of taxes that were delinquent as of... Read more →

That's not a typo in the headline. While most of us are working on (or thinking of working on) our 2009 taxes, some folks might want to make sure they filed their 2006 returns. It turns out that nearly 1.4 million individuals didn't get around to sending 2006 tax paperwork to the IRS by April 15, 2007. By neglecting to file, they've left a combined $1.3 billion in the U.S. Treasury. And if they don't rectify that oversight by this coming April 15, they'll never get their hands on their rightful tax money. Yep, refunds left unclaimed for three years... Read more →

It's been a wild time for taxes, not only in just-ended 2009, but the last decade. While I'm not one for dwelling in the past, I do believe that old saying that those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. And that's certainly true when it comes to taxes. So before we get knee-deep in our annual tax-filing tasks, let's take a quick look back at the tax legislation that got us here. Below are my top five federal tax developments over the last 10 years. 1. Dubya's tax cuts Learning his daddy's hard lessons of... Read more →

Offshore tax amnesties are international

Continuing tax forgiveness when it comes to offshore accounts isn't limited to the United States. Encouraged by a tax amnesty that brought in about €80 billion (about $114 billion U.S.) between October and mid-December, Italian finance officials extended the program. Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said the amnesty, designed to to collect more assets currently deposited out of the country, will now run to April 2010. And the earlier Italians bring their money back into the country, the better terms they'll receive. The extension calls for a fee of 7 percent on repatriated assets, but investors who move their money from... Read more →

Giving thanks for tax amnesties

Taxpayers in 18 states and cities have a great reason this year to be thankful. Their revenue offices offered them tax amnesties. These folks were given a chance to make things right with the tax man. Even better, the programs typically waive some, if not all, of the penalties and interest that usually are tacked on to late payments. The reason for the offers? States in dire need of revenue have jumped on the short-term term amnesty bandwagon as a relatively easy way to get people, lured by the promise of leniency, to pay up, writes Arden Dale in the... Read more →

Tax carrot + stick nab 14,700 scofflaws

Federal investigators are feeling pretty darn good about themselves right now. After a persistent effort to get info on taxpayers they believe hid money subject to U.S. taxes in offshore accounts, the Department of Justice and IRS announced yesterday that more than 14,700 taxpayers have 'fessed up about their previously-undisclosed foreign bank holdings. "We have now gained access to thousands of taxpayers and bank accounts that we have never had before," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, adding that it had sent "a shock wave around the world." You can forgive the commish for being perhaps a bit hyperbolic. It's not... Read more →

The IRS means it this time. Really. The tax man is giving owners of offshore accounts, suspected of being used to evade taxes, extra time to 'fess up. The deadline was Wednesday, Sept. 23. It's been pushed to Oct. 15. The great tax confessional program is part of an effort initiated in March to get folks with hidden accounts to voluntarily disclose them. If they don't, and the IRS discovers the accounts in which you might, possibly, perhaps have been hiding taxable income from Uncle Sam, then you'll face, says the tax agency, much harsher civil penalties and potentially criminal... Read more →

OK, I know I picked on states for offering tax amnesties yesterday, but now we learn the extent of why they're looking at any way possible to get any amount of money: Taxes collected by the 50 states dropped by 11.7 percent overall during the first quarter of 2009, compared to the same period a year earlier -- the largest such decline in 46 years. That discouraging word on state revenue comes from the latest report on state finances by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. Overall, state tax... Read more →

The tax amnesty train just keeps chugging along. Earlier this year, several states allowed their tax delinquents to pay their overdue bills and, in most cases, avoid at least some of the associated penalties and interest. Now amnesties are coming up in Louisiana, Oregon and Vermont. But before I get to the specifics, allow me a moment to rant. Bad tax "parents:" The states reason that they don't have the money to effectively operate programs to collect money they are owed. It's easier to at least get some of the money, the actual taxes owed, forgo the penalty costs and... Read more →

And tax amnesty for all

Well, maybe not all, but in addition to the state tax amnesties I blogged about a couple of weeks ago (Owe state taxes? Check out amnesties), a major city is reducing applicable penalties for its delinquent taxpayers who pay up by July 31. Los Angeles tax officials say if you pay all the tax you owe, along with interest and any non-penalty fees, they will waive up to 40 percent in penalties. You're eligible for this summertime tax offer is you've not reported or paid, or reported or paid some but not all, your due taxes in five areas: Business... Read more →

Owe state taxes? Check out amnesties

Attention delinquent Massachusetts taxpayers. You have just a few more hours to take advantage of your state's tax amnesty period. Since March 1, the Bay State has been giving its residents who haven't paid their state tax bills a chance to come clean and suffer minimal consequences That tax pass ends, however, at close of business today, April 30. This year's Massachusetts tax amnesty applies to individuals with 1) existing personal income tax liabilities, 2) existing personal use tax liabilities, or 3) existing cigarette excise liabilities (pertaining to purchases for individual consumption). Eligible taxpayers need to get a "Tax Amnesty... Read more →