Each year, many states announce amnesty programs in an effort to incentivize taxpayers to pay state tax. Most programs, in one form or another, offer partial or full interest and penalty abatement if taxpayers pay back taxes owed. While the programs seem like a win for states in theory, as a state and local tax attorney, I can promise that such programs lead to problems. Auditors in the various states are told to close down improperly completed audits in an effort to get taxpayers in the amnesty program. This, in turn, leads to poorly conducted audits that must be protested and litigated. In short, state and local tax professionals in those states should be licking their chops for the bombardment of work that will likely ensue.
The most recent states to implement a version of an amnesty program are Arkansas, Connecticut, and Louisiana.
Arkansas’ amnesty program applies to franchise taxes and runs from September 1st through December 31st, 2013. In order to participate, taxpayers must submit all reports and forms and pay the computed tax to the state. If a taxpayer meets the requirement of the deal, then Arkansas will waive all interest and penalties for delinquent taxpayers.
Similarly, in Louisiana, a Tax Amnesty program went into effect on September 23rd, 2013. The Louisiana amnesty program is broader than Louisiana in that it covers most state and local taxes. Taxpayers only have until Read more