Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tax Amnesty Program

Pennsylvania’s Revenue Department is gearing up for a three million dollar advertising campaign aimed at increasing participation in a tax amnesty program.
The Department of Revenue will run the amnesty program from April 28th through June 18th. During that stretch, the state will waive penalties and halve the interest on overdue tax payments.
Representative John Bear, a Lancaster County Republican, sponsored the initiative in the General Assembly, and is hopeful the state can reap much more than the anticipated amount.

"History has shown states that have been very aggressive in marketing it, such as New Jersey, have really exceeded their expectations. I think New Jersey was looking for a hundred to two hundred million, and they got well over 740 million. So it’s something we could definitely do and there’s an opportunity there that we should take advantage of. And we did, with the bill, but now it’s going to come down to marketing and getting the word out."

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Stephanie Weyant says her office is already fielding calls about the initiative.

"We’re just telling people to stay tuned. The amnesty period begins April 26th and it runs through June 18th. So during this limited 54-day opportunity the Department of Revenue will be waiving 100-percent of penalties and half of the interest.
The Revenue Department will advertise the program, and will mail letters to known tax delinquents. Its three million dollar publicity budget will be funded by the effort’s proceeds."

This year’s budget relies on 190 million dollars from the campaign. If the revenue exceeds 125 percent of that total, the excess money would go toward the state’s depleted rainy day fund. The Revenue Department will spent three million dollars advertising the campaign. That money would come from the effort’s proceeds.

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