Taxpayers have until May 31 to file delinquent returns or to amend prior tax filings and avoid all tax penalties and all interest due on those penalties. This opportunity known as the Massachusetts Tax Amnesty 2016 will be open to all individuals and businesses to catch up on back taxes and save on penalties until May 31.

Taxpayers should review their prior tax returns to determine whether all required tax returns were in fact filed and that all income was indeed reported correctly. If a return was missed or if income was underreported, taxpayers can file the returns or amend prior returns before May 31, and waive all tax penalties and any interest on those penalties. All that will be owed is the tax and interest the taxpayer owes.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (the “DOR”) has an upgraded tax system and as a result, it is anticipated that it will be easier for the DOR to identify taxpayers who have not complied with the state’s tax laws. If taxpayers decide not to take advantage of the 2016 Massachusetts Tax Amnesty, they risk being subject to greater consequences such as double the assessment on tax due, a potential six-year audit period on previously filed returns if underreporting is severe enough, as well as other penalties.

Subject to a few exceptions, amnesty is available to any individual or business who has not currently registered with the DOR, who has not filed a tax return, or who has not reported the full amount of tax owed on a previously filed return for any tax return due on or before December 31, 2015. Individuals who are or have been the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation, who have previously filed a false or fraudulent return or statement or who file a fraudulent amnesty return are not eligible for amnesty.

To participate, simply visit the DOR’s website and fill out the appropriate tax returns and schedules to determine the amount of tax owed. Enter that information on the electronic Amnesty Return. Taxpayers will submit an electronic payment for the balance due with the return.

So, if you have previously missed the filing of a return or underreported your income on a previously filed return, act before May 31 in order to take advantage of the Massachusetts Tax Amnesty 2016 and waive penalties.