In a stroke of good news for those who are a bit late on filing required tax returns in Maryland, the state has announced its “Act Now, File Now” tax amnesty program, offering delinquent taxpayers the opportunity to bring their accounts current, pay outstanding liabilities and owe only half of the interest amounts that would otherwise be due. In addition, penalties will not be pursued against those who voluntarily take advantage of the offer.
The Maryland tax attorneys at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg are prepared to help you understand the terms of the program, reclaim good standing and secure true peace of mind.
Key facts about Maryland's tax amnesty offer
Running from September 1 through October 30 of this year, the Act Now, File Now program applies to Maryland taxpayers who, on or before December 31, 2014, did not file their return or pay the relevant income, corporate income, withholding, sales and use, or admissions and amusement taxes owed.
To take advantage of the program, an interested taxpayer must, within the designated time period:
- File all required unfiled returns and pay all taxes due along with 50% of the calculated interest owed;
- Pay taxes owed plus 50% of calculated interest due on already-filed returns; or
- Make arrangements to enter into a qualifying agreement to defer payment of the tax amount owed and 50% of the interest due.
It should be noted that the amnesty program is not open to taxpayers who previously received amnesty pursuant to a Maryland Amnesty program occurring between the years 1999 and 2014. Further, this latest offer is not open to taxpayers eligible for assistance under the July 1, 2004 through November 1, 2004 Settlement Period, which was applicable to Corporate taxpayers.
Taxpayers found to qualify under the 2015 program will have all civil penalties waived, with the exception of fraud penalties already assessed, as well as one-half of all interest due. Further, qualified taxpayers will no longer need to worry about being charged with criminal offenses stemming from returns filed or tax payments made as part of the program. The amnesty will not, however, impact criminal tax charges already pending or under investigation by a prosecutor.
Broader benefits of Maryland tax amnesty program
The benefits of tax amnesty programs such as Maryland's Act Now, File Now opportunity for individual and corporate taxpayers are clear. The chance to bring accounts into full compliance and eliminate the stress that comes from having outstanding balances is invaluable to many.
However, the positive effects do not end there. Each and every taxpayer in Maryland will likely benefit from the overall boost to Maryland revenue expected to result. Senate analysts predict that general fund revenue may increase by approximately $11.4 million in FY 2016, with another $3.6 million following the year after, just from the additional filings. Local government revenue is also likely to grow, a development that can make a noticeable difference in communities across Maryland.
How a Maryland tax attorney can help
Though the latest tax amnesty program has been designed with wide-ranging eligibility in mind, the legislation itself does contain important exceptions of which interested taxpayers should be aware. Further, there are tight time limits within which taxpayers must take action.