If you owe state back taxes, now may be the time to fess up and come clean. Many states are offering amnesty programs, or voluntary compliance programs to help relieve some of the penalties and interest that have accrued.
States are using interesting methods, too. Pennsylvania is offering up its first tax amnesty program in 14 years. Running through June 18th, the state is hoping to bring in close to $200 million from the 1 million or so taxpayers with delinquent accounts. To get taxpayers’ attentions, they ran some interesting ads, including this one, which is both entertaining and creepy.
Florida has also just announced an amnesty, running between July 1 and September 30th. Taxpayers who voluntarily come forward will have penalties waived and interest cut by 50%.
Amnesties have become popular with states in the past couple of years, as a way to get a financial shot in the arm. At the same time, states are hesitant to overuse the plan, fearing that if there is no penalty or incentive, taxpayers will get into the habit of paying late or not paying at all.
Even if your state isn’t offering an amnesty, you could be able to pay off old debts with a minimal penalty. Many states allow delinquent filers to set things right with state tax collectors via ongoing voluntary compliance programs.
And, it certainly beats the alternative … which is the auditor landing at your door.