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Budget Summary FY2016

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Outside Section 151
Data Current as of:  8/19/2015

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Tax Amnesty Program for Non-Filers

SECTION 151.   (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner of revenue may establish a tax amnesty program during which all penalties that may 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) timely pay any tax liability; or (iii) 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, prior to the expiration of the amnesty period, voluntarily files proper returns and pays the full amount of tax shown on the taxpayer's returns or upon the commissioner's assessments with all interest due thereon. The waiver shall not apply to any penalties that may be due under section 35A or 35D of chapter 62C of the General Laws with regard to returns filed pursuant to the tax amnesty program. The waiver of penalties shall not apply to any period for which the taxpayer does not file proper returns. The tax amnesty program shall not apply to a tax liability of any tax type for a period commencing on or after January 1, 2014. The scope of the tax amnesty program, including the particular tax types and periods covered, including any limited look-back period for unfiled returns not to exceed 3 years, shall be determined by the commissioner.

(b) The tax amnesty program shall be established for a period of 60 days within fiscal year 2016 to be determined by the commissioner and shall expire not later than June 30, 2016. If a taxpayer fails to pay the full liability by June 30, 2016, the commissioner shall retain any payments made and shall apply the payments against the outstanding liability and the tax amnesty shall not apply.

(c) (1) The commissioner may offer tax amnesty to taxpayers who have failed to file required returns due for any tax period beginning before January 1, 2014; provided, however, that the taxpayer shall file the required return and shall pay the tax shown as due on the return during the amnesty period together with accrued interest.

(2) The commissioner shall not authorize the waiver of any interest or any amount treated as interest.

(3) The commissioner's authority to waive penalties during the amnesty period shall not apply to any taxpayer who is or has been 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.

(4) Any taxpayer who delivers or discloses a false or fraudulent application, document, return or other statement to the department of revenue in connection with a tax amnesty application under this section shall not be eligible for amnesty and shall be subject to the greater of: (i) the 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) Tax amnesty shall not apply to penalties that 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.

(e) The commissioner shall maintain records of the penalties waived under the tax amnesty program including, but not limited to: (i) the number of taxpayers provided with tax amnesty; (ii) the types of tax liability for which tax 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 tax 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 tax amnesty program 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, 2016; provided, however, that the report shall not contain information sufficient to identify an individual taxpayer or the tax amnesty provided to an individual taxpayer pursuant this section.

(f) The commissioner shall establish administrative procedures and methods to prevent a 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.