Witching Hour Approaches for Florida Tax Amnesty Program

At midnight October 31, Florida closes the doors on its popular tax amnesty program and those who did not participate will face the wrath of the Florida Department of Revenue.

"This department will engage in a very substantial enforcement program for those that did not take advantage of this period," said Jim Zingale, director of the Florida Department of Revenue.

The program, which was offered to Florida individuals and businesses, has raked in $35 million in back taxes and interest since it began on July 1, 2003. That's quite a bit less than the $75 million the government says it is owed, but tax payments are still being tallied and the state is hopeful that many more taxpayers will submit payments before the October 31 due date.

Florida taxpayers not currently under criminal investigation who are not already participating in a tax settlement agreement and who agree to waive all rights to protest and rights to receive refunds related to the tax liability are eligible to participate. The amnesty program covers taxes on income, sales, intangible property, estates, fuel, oysters (!), communications services, and more.

Taxes that were owing prior to July 1, 2003 can be paid during the amnesty period without penalty and with only 1/2 the normal amount of interest due. Tax amnesty payments can be made online at the Florida Department of Revenue Web site, and more information about the program is there as well.

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