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Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a tax amnesty bill, HB 52 to address the budget shortfall for the 2015 fiscal year. It will now go to Gov. Baker for signature.

During the amnesty period, the tax commissioner will waive all penalties, but not interest or amounts treated as interest, for the failure to comply with the following rules:
  • Timely filing any proper return for any tax type and for any tax period;
  • Filing proper returns which report the full amount of the taxpayer’s liability for any tax type and for any tax period;
  • Timely paying any tax liability; and
  • Paying the proper amount of any required estimated payment toward a tax liability.

The penalty waiver will be waived if:

  • The taxpayer files returns, makes payments as required, or otherwise comes into compliance with the tax laws pursuant to the amnesty program; and
  • For a taxpayer required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State, the taxpayer provides the tax commissioner with a certificate from the secretary, issued within 30 days of submission, indicating that the taxpayer is in good standing.
The amnesty program applies without requiring the taxpayer to show either reasonable cause or the absence of willful neglect. However, participating taxpayers waive the right to receive subsequent refunds or contest liability for amounts paid pursuant to the amnesty.

The deadline for paying tax liabilities in full is June 30, 2015.

The Somerville News Weekly
reported that the amnesty plan is designed to help close the state’s $768 million budget deficit. Gov. Baker estimates that it will generate $18 million in revenue.

Other provisions to help close the budget gap include diverting $131 million in capital gains taxes scheduled to go to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, to the General Fund, and $40 million in transportation cuts, including $14 million to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.