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Why use the 'Fresh Start' tax amnesty program? - Part two

Last week, we posted a blog about the "Fresh Start" tax amnesty program being offered in Texas. You may be wondering - does this apply to me? What are the advantages?

Imagine you are a new restaurant owner. You just went through a very busy holiday season, and you just barely had enough cash to cover payroll and expenses. So you skipped your tax payment. Then the next month was abnormally slow due to bad weather. So now you're really behind. What do you do? You could take advantage of the "Fresh Start" tax amnesty program for those who owe back taxes.

The program, as we stated, is open to: those who have not filed a tax return; to those who filed but did not pay; and to those who don't report to the Comptroller's office.

If you are like the restaurant owner above, and are still unable to pay for your taxes, you may wonder if the program applies to you. The answer is yes.

And what happens if you don't use the amnesty program? If you don't take advantage of the amnesty program, you will owe the taxes, plus penalties and interest.

  • One to 30 days late = penalty is 5 percent of tax due
  • 30- 60 days late = penalty is 10 percent of tax due
  • More than 60 days late = penalties plus interest will be due

So you may be wondering why else you may want to participate in the tax amnesty program? The benefits are:

  • You can wipe the slate clean without penalties or interest.
  • You can register for taxes that should have been reported.
  • You can file reports that are past due.

Late filings and back past-due taxes are frequently not the result of willful disregard, but to other business-related issues. If this applies to you, it may be a good idea to consult with a tax or legal professional to discuss your options.

Source: Texas Comptroller's Office, "Fresh Start Texas Taxpayer Amnesty Program 2012," May 4, 2012

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