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June 5, 2003

DOR Gearing Up for Tax Amnesty Implementation

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Revenue is already receiving some calls from taxpayers and tax preparers about the new tax amnesty legislation passed by the Florida Legislature on May 27, 2003, in special session. The legislation has not yet become law.

Department of Revenue staff are preparing now to implement the tax amnesty if it becomes law. Complete information on how to take part in the tax amnesty will be posted on the Department Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor/ as it becomes available.

Benefits that would be provided by Florida's Tax Amnesty 2003 include:

  • Significant reduction in interest.
  • Complete waiver of penalty, which can equal up to 50 percent of tax due.
  • The Department will not refer taxpayers for criminal prosecution for liabilities disclosed under amnesty.

The amnesty, which would run from July 1 through the end of October 2003, is estimated to raise $75.3 million if it becomes law. The amnesty would apply to all DOR-administered taxes except unemployment tax, and covers a period ending June 30, 2003. Major taxes included in the amnesty are sales tax, fuel taxes, corporate income tax, communications services tax, gross receipts tax, and Florida intangible tax.

Taxpayers who identify a tax liability unknown to DOR would be required to pay only half as much interest as they would if DOR found the unpaid tax later. If DOR already has identified the tax liability in a bill, audit, or other assessment, the taxpayer would be eligible for a one-fourth cut in interest charges. In addition, taxpayers would receive a complete waiver of penalty for liabilities disclosed under the amnesty program.

Also, if taxpayers accurately disclose all of their liability, they would not be required to make additional payments of tax, penalty, or interest for the periods and liabilities covered in their amnesty disclosure. In general terms, taxpayers who accurately disclose all of their tax liabilities during the amnesty will tend to lower their chances of being identified for later audit. However, some amnesty participants would have been identified for audit with or without an amnesty.

Taxpayers would lose a significant advantage if they wait until after the tax amnesty expires Oct. 31, 2003. After that date, the interest rate will rise from 4 percent to 8 percent and penalty will apply.

The text and bill analysis of the amnesty legislation (CS for SB 18A) is available at http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/index.cfm

The Department asks that tax preparers and taxpayers monitor the DOR Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor/ for information about the proposed tax amnesty. The Department will provide complete information on how to take part in amnesty at this site as it becomes available.