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BATON ROUGE - Collections from the state’s Tax Amnesty program have grown to $74.8 million as processing of applications continues, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges. So far, 34,552 applications have been processed from the 60-day program that ended on October 30, 2001.
“Because we have been physically moving our Headquarters Office in Baton Rouge over the last three weeks, processing of Tax Amnesty applications has taken longer than it would otherwise during that period,” Bridges says. She points out that many taxpayers waited until the final days of the program before submitting applications and payments, which resulted in a huge workload at the end of the program. Because of the move and the shear number of applications, Bridges says completion of the processing could take until late November or early December. The Department estimates that final Tax Amnesty collections could exceed $80 million.
During the last Tax Amnesty program in 1998, $1.6 million was collected from 5,127 taxpayers. “That was a record at that time,” she says. Prior to that, a 1987 amnesty program collected $279,000 from 77 taxpayers and a 1985 program collected $1.2 million dollars from 382 taxpayers. “The biggest difference from previous programs is this year’s program did not have any limitations regarding income earned or the tax amount due,” Bridges points out.
Authorized by Act 136 of the 2001 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Tax Amnesty program began on September 1, 2001 and ended October 30, 2001. During that time, any individual or business could apply for tax amnesty and not pay any penalty or interest - just the tax and any applicable fees due - provided the amnesty application was approved by the Department. In return, the Department agreed not to seek civil or criminal prosecution of the taxpayer for the tax period for which amnesty was granted.
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