Arizona Prepares to Enact 30-day Tax Amnesty Program

  by Stewart Weintraub and Jennifer Weidler

Arizona is preparing to launch a tax amnesty program, slated to run from September 1, 2011 through October 1, 2011.  To participate in the program, taxpayers must file an original or amended return, an amnesty application, and pay in full any tax and interest due by October 1, 2011.  With the exception of the estate tax and property tax, the tax recovery program applies to every state and/or local tax obligation, including individual and corporate income tax, sales and use tax, withholding tax and partnership tax.  For annual tax filings, such as income tax, the program is available for years 2004 through 2009.  For those taxes filed monthly or quarterly, such as transaction privilege or withholding taxes, the program is available for tax periods 2005 through 2009.

Any individual or business with qualifying past due taxes for the years at issue is eligible for the program, subject to certain exclusions.  First, individuals or businesses currently being audited or who have completed an audit are ineligible to participate. Second, those taxpayers who have previously been the subject of a criminal investigation resulting in a conviction, guilty plea or plea of non contest are precluded from participation in the program.  Finally, taxpayers who have criminal investigations pending as of January 1, 2011, relating to fraud, failure to file or failure to pay any tax imposed by the state of Arizona are also ineligible to participate.

The benefits of participating in the Arizona amnesty program include a reduced interest rate for all taxes due for the periods covered by the application, an abatement of penalties, and the assurance that no civil, administrative or criminal actions will be brought against the taxpayer for the periods covered by the application.  Thus, Arizona taxpayers with past due taxes should consider participating in the program and should begin preparing to take advantage of the 30-day window of amnesty offered by the state.

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