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 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.