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Texas Announces "Project Fresh Start" Tax Amnesty Program for All Businesses

Contributor: John Heilmann, Manager, Tax & Business

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The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has announced an upcoming tax amnesty program titled “Project Fresh Start.” Texas joins a long list of states to have offered tax amnesty programs to both boost state revenue and to encourage ongoing compliance with state tax laws. Many states have offered tax amnesty programs in the past – Project Fresh Start is one of the easiest and simple tax amnesty programs to have been created. There is no separate application process needed to participate.

Project Fresh Start will run from June 12, 2012 through August 17, 2012, and it applies to all state and local taxes and fees administered by the Comptroller’s office, with the exception of Public Utility Commission gross receipts assessments. Franchise tax and sales tax, among others, are included in the amnesty program. Under Project Fresh Start, all penalties and interest will be waived for businesses that file delinquent tax reports, or amend reports with underreported taxes, and pay all taxes due at the time of filing. There is no limit to the amount of interest and penalty that can be waived under the program however this waiver will only apply to the amount tax actually paid at the time of filing.

All tax returns with original due dates of prior to April 1, 2012 are eligible for Project Fresh Start. Most taxpayers are eligible for this program. The amnesty program will not be offered to any taxpayers that are either under audit, have been identified for an audit or those that have already signed a settlement agreement or voluntary disclosure agreement prior to June 12, 2012 (the starting date of the Project Fresh Start Program). Taxpayers who may be in the process of considering a voluntary disclosure or settlement agreement but have not yet signed such agreement may want to consider if Project Fresh Start may provide a better result in their circumstances.

To obtain amnesty under this program, taxpayers must review their records and tax responsibilities, and subsequently file all delinquent or underreported tax reports with “Amnesty” written across the top of the reports and on the checks or money orders. Installment payment plans are not available and all taxes must be paid in full with the amnesty reports filed. Taxpayers who fail to take advantage of this amnesty program will be responsible for all taxes, fees, penalties, and interest owed on delinquent taxes paid after the end of this program.

Please contact your Marcum SALT representative for further information on the Texas “Project Fresh Start” program and its requirements.

 
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