State to Offer Amnesty Program for Taxpayers

Phoenix, AZ – Beginning next month the state will have an amnesty program for the 2004 through 2009 tax years. Those who file the necessary paperwork -- and, of course, pay what is owed -- will not be charged the normal penalties which can hit 25 percent for each year a return was not filed. There will be interest. But it will be just 3 percent a year, about half the normal rate. Anthony Forschino, assistant director of the state Department of Revenue, said he expects some interest by those who got a notice from the Internal Revenue Service saying they did not properly report their income. That affects what they owe the state, as Arizona uses a piggyback tax form, with computations starting from the federal adjusted gross income. But Forschino he said previous experience with this kind of programs always turns up some people who just did not file at all.

(You find somebody who knew they owed and didn't file and then waited until the next next year. And then, oh, I'm a year behind and I'd better not file this year. And then they get snowballed into this not having filed. I think that's what you see.)

A similar program is available for merchants who did not remit sales taxes or failed to forward what they withheld from worker paychecks to the state. But to qualify, taxpayers are going to need to act quickly to download the necessary amnesty form from the Department of Revenue's web site and fill out the missing or amended tax returns. While the window for the amnesty opens on September 1st, it stays open for only one month. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.