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Should You Participate in the Tax Amnesty Program?

April 23, 2015

If you received a tax amnesty notice recently, be mindful of the deadline, payment, process, and how participation will affect your tax future.

If you fail to pay your taxes in full at the time they’re due, you accrue interest and a number of penalties until they are paid. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued rules governing a 60 day tax amnesty for qualified tax payers which began on March 16th and will end on May 15th. The tax amnesty program is part of MA’s fiscal year budget, and under the program, will allow a taxpayer to have all unpaid penalties that could be assessed on certain unpaid taxes waived, provided that they pay taxes and interest in full during the 60 day period.

6 things you should know

  1. If you are eligible for the amnesty period, you should have received a Tax Amnesty Notice in March. All penalties will be waived if you pay the tax and interest listed on the bill before May 15th deadline. The amnesty applies only to assessments on record on or before January 1, 2015.
  2. Eligible taxes include corporate excise taxes (financial institutions, insurance, banks, and public utilities), estate taxes, individual use taxes incurred on motor vehicles, and fiduciary income taxes.
  3. If you are involved in a payment agreement with the DOR before the start of the amnesty period, you are still qualified for the program. Taxpayers who have pending appeals and withdraw those appeals are eligible as well.
  4. You can pay the amnesty balance by credit card, personal check, or online electronic payment from your checking or savings accounts through the DOR website. You have to reference something called the “bill number” disclosed on the upper right of your notice when paying your balance.
  5. Participation in the program means that you must relinquish your rights to a refund of any amounts paid as a result of the amnesty as well as your rights to question responsibility for any amounts included in the amnesty.
  6. Participating in 2015 means that you will not be eligible again for another ten years.

Why didn’t I receive a notice?

You are not able to participate in the amnesty program if you’ve already paid outstanding taxes and interest and only owe penalties, you’ve signed a settlement agreement, or if you’ve been involved in any tax related criminal act.

Around 24,000 taxpayers will qualify for the amnesty program this year. For more information on the program, Frequently Asked Questions on the Massachusetts DOR website is a great reference.
Questions? Contact any member of our Tax Services Team.

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