Tax Amnesty

Texas Comptroller Announces Tax Amnesty for Businesses for a Limited Period this Summer

According to the Webster-Merriam dictionary website, amnesty is  ”the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.”  Amnesty can apply to businesses, too. 

The state of Texas announced on March 15, 2012 its Fresh Start tax amnesty period running from June 12 through August 17, 2012.  This gives businesses a chance to file missing reports or amend previous reports in which they had incorrectly reported a lower tax than was due, pay the tax, and not incur penalties or interest.  Remember:  you must pay the tax – all of it – with the report.

The tax amnesty covers taxes and fees that were originally due before April 1, 2012.  It applies to sales tax, franchise tax and other state or local taxes or fees administered by the Comptroller’s office, except the Public Utility Commission gross receipts assessment.  Thus, for example, it does not apply to property taxes, since they are not administered by the Texas Comptroller’s office.

The amnesty does not apply to underpaid tax returns (tax that was reported but not paid) or to filing periods under audit or investigation, or identified for an audit or investigation. 

The Fresh Start amnesty program is not being offered simply as an act of kindness.  A similar tax amnesty was held in the summer of 2007 and brought in approximately $100 million of unpaid taxes.

This may be a fruitful summer activity, if you need to square up with the Comptroller’s office.  You can find out more about the amnesty program at www.freshstart.texas.gov/.  You will know your are in the right place if the landing page has a funny-looking chicken on it.

Vance

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