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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to authorize the commissioner of revenue to establish a tax amnesty plan, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner of revenue shall establish a tax amnesty program during which all penalties that could be assessed by the commissioner for the failure of the taxpayer to: (i) timely file any proper return for any tax type and for any tax period; (ii) file proper returns which report the full amount of the taxpayer's liability for any tax type and for any tax period; (iii) timely pay any tax liability; or (iv) pay the proper amount of any required estimated payment toward a tax liability shall be waived without the need for any showing by the taxpayer of reasonable cause or the absence of willful neglect. The waiver of a taxpayer’s liability under this section shall apply if the taxpayer files returns, makes payments as required by the commissioner or otherwise comes into compliance with the tax laws of the commonwealth as required by the commissioner pursuant to the tax amnesty. The scope of the amnesty program in terms of the particular tax types and periods covered, including any limited look-back period for unfiled returns, shall be determined by the commissioner.

The amnesty program shall be established for a period of 2 consecutive months within fiscal year 2009 to be determined by the commissioner, such period to expire not later than June 30, 2009, and all required payments shall be made on or before June 30, 2009, in order for the amnesty to apply. If a taxpayer fails to pay the full liability before June 30, 2009, the commissioner shall retain any payments made and shall apply said payments against the outstanding liability, and the provisions of the tax amnesty program shall not apply.

The commissioner's authority to waive penalties during the amnesty period shall not apply to any taxpayer who, before the start date of the amnesty program selected by the commissioner, was the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation or prosecution. The amnesty program shall not authorize the waiver of interest or any amount treated as interest. The commissioner may offer tax amnesty to those taxpayers who have either any unpaid self-assessed liability or who have been assessed a tax liability, whether before or after their filing of a return, which assessed liability remains unpaid.

To the extent that a taxpayer within the scope of the amnesty program as determined by the commissioner and wishing to participate in the amnesty program has postponed the payment of an assessment of tax, interest and penalty under the authority of subsection (e) of section 32 of chapter 62C of the General Laws, the taxpayer shall waive in writing all rights under said subsection (e) to further delay the payment of the tax and interest portions of the assessment. The tax and interest portions of the assessment shall be payable in full from the date of the commissioner's notice of assessment. Upon payment by the taxpayer of the tax and interest of the outstanding assessment, the commissioner shall waive all penalties associated with that assessment. Thereafter, the taxpayer and the commissioner shall proceed with all administrative appeal rights that the taxpayer wishes to pursue with respect to the assessment.

Amnesty shall not apply to those penalties which the commissioner would not have the sole authority to waive including, but not limited to, fuel taxes administered under the International Fuel Tax Agreement or under the local option portions of taxes or excises collected for the benefit of cities, towns or state governmental authorities.

The commissioner shall maintain records of the amnesty provided under this section including, but not limited to: (i) the number of taxpayers provided with amnesty; (ii) the types of tax liability, for which amnesty was provided and, for each type of liability, the amount of tax liability collected; and the amount of penalties foregone by virtue of the amnesty program; and (iii) the total outstanding tax liability due to the commonwealth, for the period through December 31, 2006, after the collection of all funds under this section. The commissioner shall file a report detailing such information with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the joint committee on revenue, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the minority leader of the house and the minority leader of the senate, not later than September 1, 2009; provided, however, that such report shall not contain information sufficient to identify an individual taxpayer or the amnesty that an individual taxpayer was provided under this section.

SECTION 2. Section 2 of chapter 182 of the acts of 2008 is hereby amended by inserting after item 1201-0100 the following item:-

1201-0101.. The department of revenue may expend an amount not to exceed $500,000 from the revenues collected under any tax amnesty program authorized to be implemented after the effective date of this act before June 30, 2009, for the costs of administering this program, for discovering and identifying persons who are delinquent either in the filing of any tax return or the payment of any tax due and payable to the commonwealth, for the costs of obtaining those delinquent returns and collecting those delinquent taxes for any prior fiscal year; provided, however, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, for the purpose of accommodating timing discrepancies between the receipt of revenues and related expenditures, the department may incur expenses and the comptroller may certify for payment the amounts not to exceed the lower of this authorization or the most recent revenue estimate therefor as reported in the accounting system..................... $500,000.

Approved January 7, 2009