This year, business owners and private individuals in Louisiana will have a rare opportunity to avoid some of the penalties traditionally associated with unpaid taxes. For those who owe, 2015 represents the final opportunity for tax amnesty until 2025. By taking advantage of this year's program, taxpayers can bring their tax accounts up to date and reset their relationship with state tax collectors.
Individuals and businesses who want to take advantage of tax amnesty must follow specific guidelines and work quickly. After this year, it will be impossible to expunge owed taxes from an account without incurring sizable penalties.
The current tax amnesty program went into effect in 2013. That year, Louisiana enacted the Louisiana Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act, which contained three periods of amnesty for taxpayers. The time between Nov. 16 and Dec. 15 of this year represents the third and final opportunity for amnesty under the act, and 2025 is the soonest this program will be reinstated.
"A final opportunity for amnesty."
The Louisiana Department of Revenue aims to make it simple for taxpayers to bring their accounts in order, and allows individuals with owed taxes to pay off their debt through installment plans. Of course, to take advantage of these perks and the amnesty program, taxpayers must qualify to apply for amnesty.
The qualification requirements for amnesty are broad, and include nearly any individual or organization who failed to file taxes, incorrectly claimed deductions or misrepresented income or taxes owed. While it is possible to qualify for amnesty if you or the business you represent are currently under audit or involved in litigation, you do not qualify for amnesty if you are involved with criminal litigation or investigation enacted by the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
Qualifying taxpayers must agree to pay 100 percent of owed taxes, 83 percent of owed interest and 67 percent of remaining penalties. The remainder of what taxpayers owe will be waived. Critically, taxpayers who want to benefit from the program must apply for amnesty during the period between Nov. 16 and Dec. 15. Requests after this date will be denied.
While it is possible to settle an outstanding tax burden with a single payment, that might not be an option for individuals or businesses who have built up a sizable debt. In response, the Louisiana Department of Revenue has created an installment system for tax payments.
In order to qualify for an installment plan, the taxpayer must make all payments to the department by May 1 of 2016. A failure to do this will invalidate amnesty. It is possible to replace a current installment plan with a new installment plan that includes the benefits of amnesty if you apply during the amnesty period.
If you are a business or individual in Louisiana and currently have outstanding unpaid taxes, you cannot afford to miss this opportunity for amnesty. If you have any questions about this program, you can contact the professionals at LaPorte for more information on how to qualify and apply for this program.