Texas "Fresh Start" Amnesty Program Ends August 17, 2012 - What Should You Do? | AccountingWEB

Texas "Fresh Start" Amnesty Program Ends August 17, 2012 - What Should You Do?

The Texas "Fresh Start" Amnesty Program ends August 17, 2012.  Should you take advantage of it? 

Before you do, please review all of the qualifications and determine what the potential impact will be (past, present and future).  A Voluntary Disclosure Agreement may be a better option.

THE DETAILS

The program applies to reports originally due before April 1, 2012, but does not apply to underpaid tax returns (i.e., reported but not paid) or filing periods that are under audit.

For taxpayers that participate in the amnesty program and pay the full amount of tax due, the Comptroller will waive penalies and interest.

The program applies to all state and local taxes and fees administered by the Comptroller (i.e., sales and use taxes, franchise tax, insurance tax, local-option taxes, fuels tax, etc.) except for Public Utility Commission gross receipts assessment.  Amnesty does not apply to the sports and community venue tax and property taxes.

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP

Please take note that the amnesty program does not limit the lookback period.  Hence, returns will be required for all unfiled prior years where the taxpayer has nexus or a filing obligation.  This is in contrast to using a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) or program.  Under a VDA, the lookback period is limited usually to the most recent three or four tax years.

For more information on the amnesty program, go to Texas Fresh Start.

For more information on Texas Voluntary Disclosure Agreements go to Texas VDA.

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Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States.  He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State Tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect."  For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com

You can reach Brian at strahle@leveragesalt.com.

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Because state and local taxes are deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.

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