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Budget Summary FY2015

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Outside Section 264
Data Current as of:  10/17/2014

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Tax amnesty program

SECTION 264.   (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner of revenue shall establish a tax amnesty program during which all penalties that could be assessed by the commissioner shall be waived without the need for any showing by the taxpayer of reasonable cause or the absence of willful neglect for the failure of the taxpayer to: (i) timely file any proper return for any tax type and for any tax period; (ii) file proper returns which report the full amount of the taxpayer's liability for any tax type and for any tax period; (iii) timely pay any tax liability; or (iv) pay the proper amount of any required estimated payment toward a tax liability. The waiver of a taxpayer's liability under this section shall apply if the taxpayer files returns, makes payments as required by the commissioner or otherwise comes into compliance with the tax laws of the commonwealth pursuant to the tax amnesty program. The scope of the program, including the particular tax types and periods covered, including any limited look-back period for unfiled returns, shall be determined by the commissioner; provided, however, that the commissioner shall include, but not be limited to, the following tax types within the scope: sales and use taxes; sales tax on telecommunications services; meals taxes; meals tax local options; materialman sales taxes; withholding income; performer withholdings; pass-through entity withholdings; lottery annuity withholdings; room occupancy excises; room occupancy excise local options; convention center financing fees on room occupancy in the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Chicopee, Springfield and Worcester and the city known as the town of West Springfield; convention center financing surcharges for sightseeing tours; convention center financing surcharges on vehicle rentals in the city of Boston; convention center financing surcharges on parking in the cities of Boston, Springfield and Worcester; deeds excises, cigarette excises, cigars and smoking tobacco excises; club alcoholic beverages excises; gasoline excises; special fuels excises; special fuels excise local options; and boat and recreational vehicles sales taxes.

(b) The amnesty program shall be established for 2 consecutive months in fiscal year 2015 to be determined by the commissioner and all required payments shall be made by June 30, 2015 in order for the amnesty to apply. If a taxpayer fails to pay the full liability before June 30, 2015, the commissioner shall retain any payments made and shall apply those payments against the outstanding liability and the tax amnesty program shall not apply.

(c) (1) The commissioner's authority to waive penalties during the amnesty period shall not apply to any taxpayer who, before or during the period of the amnesty program selected by the commissioner, was or is 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. The amnesty program shall not authorize the waiver of interest or any amount treated as interest. The commissioner may offer tax amnesty to those taxpayers who have either an unpaid self-assessed liability or who have been assessed a tax liability, whether before or after the filing of a return, which assessed liability remains unpaid.

(2) A taxpayer who delivers or discloses any false or fraudulent application, document, return or other statement to the department of revenue in connection with an amnesty application under this section shall be ineligible for amnesty and shall be subject to the greater of: (i) applicable penalties under chapter 62C of the General Laws; or (ii) a penalty not to exceed $10,000 which shall be calculated and assessed according to rules determined by the commissioner and may be subject to de minimis or other exceptions that the commissioner may consider appropriate. This penalty shall be subject to said chapter 62C and shall be added to and become part of the tax due.

(d) To the extent that a taxpayer within the scope of the amnesty program as determined by the commissioner and wishing to participate in the amnesty program has postponed the payment of an assessment of tax, interest and penalty under subsection (e) of section 32 of chapter 62C of the General Laws, the taxpayer shall waive in writing all rights under said subsection (e) of said section 32 of said chapter 62C to further delay the payment of the tax and interest portions of the assessment. The tax and interest portions of the assessment shall be payable in full from the date of the commissioner's notice of assessment. Upon payment by the taxpayer of the tax and interest of the outstanding assessment, the commissioner shall waive all penalties associated with that assessment. Thereafter, the taxpayer and the commissioner shall proceed with all administrative appeal rights that the taxpayer wishes to pursue with respect to the assessment.

(e) Amnesty shall not apply to those penalties which 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.

(f) The commissioner shall maintain records of the amnesty provided under this section including, but not limited to: (i) the number of taxpayers provided with amnesty; (ii) the types of tax liability for which amnesty was provided and, for each type of liability, the amount of tax liability collected and the amount of penalties foregone by virtue of the amnesty program; and (iii) the total outstanding tax liability for amnesty-eligible taxpayers at the conclusion of the tax amnesty program after the collection of all funds under this section. The commissioner shall file a report detailing the information with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the joint committee on revenue, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the house and senate minority leaders not later than September 1, 2015; provided, however, that the report shall not contain information sufficient to identify an individual taxpayer or the amnesty that an individual taxpayer was provided under this section.

(g) The commissioner shall 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.

(h) The department shall deposit the lesser of 1/2 or $5,000,000 of the amount collected under this section into the Substance Abuse Services Fund established in section 2I of chapter 111 of the General Laws.