Louisiana Enacts Amnesty Program

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has approved the Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act of 2013. The Act requires the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) to implement a tax amnesty program applicable to all taxes administered by the LDR, except for motor fuel taxes and penalties for failure to submit information reports that are not based on an underpayment of tax. There will be three separate time periods during which taxpayers will be able to file for amnesty protection. The first period will run from September 23, 2013 and end November 22, 2013. The remaining two periods will be a period of at least one month occurring between July 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014 and a period of at least one month occurring between July 1, 2015, and December 31, 2015. These dates have not yet been announced. The LDR will be authorized to waive penalties and interest associated with the tax periods for which amnesty is applied as follows: all penalties and 50% of the interest owed if the amnesty application is approved during the 2013 amnesty period; 15% of penalties owed if the amnesty application is approved during the 2014 amnesty period; and 10% of penalties owed if the amnesty application is approved during the 2015 amnesty period. Based on this, affected taxpayers are encouraged to file for amnesty during the 2013 period.

The following taxes are eligible for amnesty: taxes due prior to January 1, 2013, for which the LDR has issued an individual or a business proposed assessment, notice of assessment, bill, notice, or demand for payment not later than May 31, 2013; taxes for taxable periods that began before January 1, 2013; or taxes for which the taxpayer and the department have entered into an agreement to interrupt and suspend the running of prescription until December 31, 2013. Special amnesty provisions apply to matters under examination and in litigation. Amnesty will be granted only for eligible taxpayers who apply for amnesty during one of the amnesty periods and who pay all of the tax, all fees and costs (if applicable), and any interest due upon filing the amnesty application. Amnesty may not be granted to taxpayers who are parties to any criminal investigation or criminal litigation in any state or federal court pending on June 21, 2013, for nonpayment, delinquency, or fraud in relation to any state tax administered by the department. Any taxpayer who delivers or discloses a false or fraudulent application, document, return, or other statement to the department in connection with an amnesty application will be ineligible for amnesty and subject to a fraud penalty or a penalty of $10,000, whichever is greater. Taxpayers that participate in the amnesty program and later fail to comply with any payment and filing provision would be subject to a negligence penalty or a $100 penalty, whichever is greater.

The application for taxpayers involved in field audits or litigation will include all issues and all eligible periods involved in the audit or litigation. All business taxpayers are required to file returns with the amnesty application. The Secretary reserves the right to require individual taxpayers to file tax returns with the amnesty application as well. For an update on this news item, click here. (Act 421 (H.B. 456), Laws 2013, effective June 21, 2013; Revenue Information Bulletin No. 13-017, Louisiana Department of Revenue, August 1, 2013)

Posted on August 26, 2013