D.C. launches amnesty program waiving penalties, fees on back taxes

Delinquent taxpayers will get a rare opportunity to pay outstanding taxes and interest to the District of Columbia, have their penalties and fees waived, and avoid criminal prosecution. The DC Tax Amnesty program will run from August 2 through September 30, 2010, offering individuals and businesses the opportunity to satisfy their tax liabilities.

Known receivables of $170 million are owed to the district by 42,000 individuals and businesses. Sixty percent are located in the district with 40 percent outside, primarily in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. The amnesty applies to all taxes administered by the Office of Tax and Revenue, with the exception of real property-related taxes and the ball park fee. All periods covered by tax returns due prior to December 31, 2009, are eligible.
 
A special Web site has been established to help tax delinquents expedite payment and resolve their tax liabilities. Among the issues addressed on the site are eligibility requirements, necessary documents, and the application form. Taxpayers can call the Office of Tax and Revenue at (202) 727-4TAX (4829), e-mail questions to dctaxamnesty@dc.gov, or visit the service center at 1101 4th Street, SW, Suite W270, from 8:15 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
 
"This is a good chance for people who have taxes due to step up and do the right thing,” said Natwar M. Gandhi, the district's chief financial officer. “We understand that people and businesses are going through tough times, so we are pleased to offer this opportunity for real savings for district taxpayers who have fallen behind with their tax obligations.”
 
The District of Columbia is one of a number of jurisdictions implementing tax amnesty periods this year as governments nationwide seek ways to close budget gaps. A public-awareness program is underway to reach the residents of the district, adjacent suburbs, and across the country.
 
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