Legislative / Regulatory | Taxation

Amnesty programs give taxpayers a do-over

Statehouse Attention, tax delinquents: Maryland is giving you a second chance.

Come Halloween, though, all bets are off.

A tax amnesty program approved by the General Assembly earlier this year goes into effect today. Through Oct. 30, 2009, delinquent Maryland taxpayers who apply and are approved will be allowed to pay what they owe without penalty, with half the unpaid interest waived.

"Taxpayers who have filed returns for the eligible taxes but haven’t paid all or part of the tax due, non-filers and taxpayers being audited are all eligible for amnesty," the state Comptroller's Office reports.

The amnesty applies to personal income tax, fiduciary income tax, pass-through entity non-resident tax, corporate income tax, employer withholding tax, sales and use tax, and admissions and amusement tax.

The program could generate some much-needed revenue for the cash-strapped and budgetary-challenged state. According to The Sun, "about 177,000 individual and 18,000 business tax accounts are delinquent, adding up to as much as a half-billion dollars."

The Comptroller's Office offers a ton of resources related to the amnesty period, including these:

More resources are available on the Comptroller's Web site.

Amnesty in Delaware, too
The Delaware Division of Revenue will hold its own Voluntary Tax Compliance Initiative (VTCI) from Sept. 1 to Oct. 30. VTCI is Delaware's tax amnesty program for individuals and businesses. For a limited time, those with outstanding tax liabilities administered by the Delaware Division of Revenue are invited to pay their past-due taxes or file past-due tax returns free of penalty, interest, and collection fees, and without fear of litigation. Get details here.

Louisiana (Sept. 1 to Oct. 31), Maine (Sept. 1 to Nov. 30) and Oregon (Oct. 1 to Nov. 19) also are offering amnesty programs this year.

More details about tax initiatives and issues will take center stage at the MACPA's Chesapeake Tax Conference, Practitioners' Conference and Advanced Tax Institute, all coming this fall.


Bill Sheridan