The Associated Press

Mass. Lawmakers Give Nod To Tax Amnesty Program

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House on Monday overwhelmingly approved a limited tax amnesty program that would offer delinquent taxpayers an opportunity to settle past state tax liabilities without paying penalties.

The measure proposed by state Rep. Brad Jones, the House Republican leader, was added as an amendment during debate on the state’s $36.2 billion budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

“By offering tax amnesty to individuals and businesses that are delinquent in their payments to the Department of Revenue, Massachusetts is now in a position to collect overdue tax liabilities which might otherwise be forgone,” Jones said in a statement.

Under the two-month program, which would still need Senate approval, individuals and businesses could pay off their past state tax liabilities, but all penalties that had been assessed would be waived.

Up to $5 million of the revenue that is brought in through the amnesty program would go into a fund that would help local police departments purchase Narcan, a drug that can help reverse overdoses of heroin or other opioids.

Jones said the state took in more than $100 million during a tax amnesty program in 2002.

The proposal would allow the revenue agency to select the two months to institute the program during fiscal year 2015.

The budget debate was expected to continue in the House for several days.

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, said at the outset of debate that the budget calls for about a 5 percent increase in overall spending but no new taxes. He said the budget would also accelerate payments to the state’s pension system, allowing it to be fully funded four years earlier than the under the current schedule.

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  • idler

    another bad idea that just rewards and encourages scofflaws

    • CDTaxMan

      Not everyone that has unpaid taxes is a sofflaw. As a CPA I represent hundereds of clients every year that were unaware of their filing obligation. The rules made by the states are often confusing even to a professional that deals with state taxes on a daily basis. This incetivies those to come forward by eliminating penalties and allowing people to have a clean slate. It is a massive revenue generation tool for the state because rather than paying auditors to find these people or businesses they come foward voluntarily, thus reducing the cost of tax dollars. The state has many other similar programs that run all the time but are sometimes a bit more restrictive. Generally those that were avoiding tax with neglect and ill-will do not qualify for these programs. Check your facts before you speak.

      • idler

        1) One wonders how it is that your clients were unaware of their obligations – maybe they came to you after the event ?
        2) What are the facts ? Some tax avoiders do it deliberately, some by accident – even those that consult CPAs. Can you honestly say that none of your clients are evaders ?

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