Massachusetts authorizes a tax amnesty

Massachusetts has authorized a tax amnesty program to be established for a period of 60 days as determined by the Commissioner of Revenue. The scope of the program, including the particular tax types and periods covered and any limited look-back period for unfiled returns, for a period not to exceed three years, will be determined by the Commissioner. Under the program, all penalties that could be assessed by the Commissioner for the failure of the taxpayer to (1) timely file any proper return for any tax types and for any tax periods, (2) timely pay any tax liability, or (3) pay the proper amount of any required estimated payment toward a tax liability will be waived without the need for any showing by the taxpayer of reasonable cause or the absence of willful neglect. The taxpayer must voluntarily file proper returns and pay the full amount of tax shown on the taxpayer’s returns, or the amount due upon the Commissioner’s assessments, plus all interest due.

All required payments must be made by June 30, 2016. The waiver will not apply to any penalties that may be due under Ch. 62C, §35A, G.L. (penalty for underpayment of tax), or Ch. 62C, §35D, G.L. (inconsistent reporting of taxable income), with regard to returns filed pursuant to the amnesty. The waiver of penalties will not apply to any period for which the taxpayer does not file such proper returns. The amnesty will not apply to a tax liability of any tax type for a period commencing on or after January 1, 2014. The amnesty will not apply to any taxpayer who is or has been the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation or prosecution or to any taxpayer who delivers or discloses, or has delivered or disclosed, any false or fraudulent application, document, return, or other statement.

Amnesty also will not apply to any penalties that the Commissioner would not have the sole authority to waive, including, but not limited to, fuel taxes administered under the International Fuel Tax Agreement
or under the local option portions of taxes or excises collected for the benefit of cities, towns, or state governmental authorities. The Commissioner must establish administrative procedures and methods to prevent any taxpayer who utilizes the tax amnesty program from utilizing any future tax amnesty programs for the next consecutive 10 years, beginning in calendar year 2015. (Office of Gov. Charlie Baker, Press Release, July 17, 2015; Office of Governor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Budget Letters, dated, July 17, 2015; H.B. 3650, Laws 2015, approved July 17, and effective as noted above.)

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