• Time is Running Out For Florida Tax Amnesty
  • December 14, 2003 | Author: D. Michael O'Leary
  • Law Firm: Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O'Neill & Mullis Professional Association - Tampa Office
  • Time is running out for Florida taxpayers who want to take advantage of a temporary amnesty for nearly all Florida taxes. Until October 31, 2003, taxpayers may pay back taxes without penalty and with reduced interest charges.

    Virtually all taxes administered by the Florida Department of Revenue ("DOR") are included in the tax amnesty program, including sales and use taxes, intangible personal property taxes, corporate income taxes and estate taxes. To qualify for tax amnesty, a taxpayer must complete a tax amnesty agreement and the appropriate tax forms for the taxes that are owed. These documents must be submitted, with full payment, by October 31, 2003. In addition, the Department of Revenue has stated that taxpayers who participate in the tax amnesty program will lower their chances for a future audit.

    Taxpayers qualifying for the tax amnesty program receive a 50% discount on interest if they have either, (1) never been contacted by the DOR or, (2) received a communication from the DOR in the form of letters of inquiry, delinquency notices or self-audits. However, if the taxpayer is under audit or the DOR has already assessed a liability for unpaid taxes, the taxpayer is eligible for a 25% discount on interest.

    Unfortunately, the amnesty period is quickly coming to an end. Effective November 1, 2003, taxpayers will not only have to pay penalties and interest on unpaid taxes, but the interest rate will increase to the prime rate plus 4 percentage points.

    Both business and individual taxpayers are eligible for the amnesty program unless they are currently under criminal investigation regarding a Florida revenue law or have been convicted of a violation of a Florida revenue law. In order to qualify for tax amnesty, the taxpayer must agree to waive all protest rights and rights to claim a refund. In addition, tax amnesty is not available if the tax liability is already covered in an existing settlement agreement.

    These are strong incentives to pay any unpaid Florida taxes by October 31, 2003. Taxpayers should take full advantage of this opportunity.

    To learn more about the program, visit, www.myflorida.com/dor/amnesty/.