For Immediate Release - March 31, 2016

Massachusetts Tax Amnesty Starts Tomorrow, April 1

Program to run April 1 to May 31, allows taxpayers to catch up on back taxes

BOSTON — Tomorrow, April 1, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) will begin the 2016 Tax Amnesty Program that will last until May 31. The opportunity to catch up on back taxes and save on penalties is available to both individuals and businesses. The goal of the tax amnesty program is to bring those taxpayers who have failed to file returns or have underreported their taxes into compliance.

Amnesty Highlights:

  • File delinquent returns or amend prior tax filings all online at mass.gov/TaxAmnesty.  
  • Pay only the tax and interest owed. Tax penalties and any interest due on those penalties will be waived.
  • Non-filers may benefit from a three-year limited look-back period.

“The 2016 Tax Amnesty Program is a win-win for the Commonwealth and taxpayers,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance. "This is an opportunity to bring tax filers onto the books, while allowing individuals and businesses to become compliant without any penalty.”

A simple online amnesty return will be available tomorrow on mass.gov/TaxAmnesty. DOR will calculate the interest for each tax period and provide the total amnesty balance due. Filers will submit an electronic payment for the balance due with the amnesty return.

“I urge both individuals and businesses to step up and do the right thing and pay their back taxes beginning April 1 with our easy-to-use online amnesty application,” said Mark Nunnelly, Commissioner of Revenue. “After tax amnesty ends, penalties and our full enforcement measures will be back in place.”

Eligibility
Amnesty is available to any individual or business who has not currently registered with the Department of Revenue, or who has not filed a tax return that was due on or before December 31, 2015, or who has failed to report the proper tax due on a previously filed return for any tax return due on or before December 31, 2015.

Eligible Tax Types
All tax types administered by DOR are included, with the exception of the preferred provider excise, the deeds excise, abandoned bottle deposits, and other taxes where DOR does not have the sole authority to waive penalties, such as taxes covered under the International Fuels Tax Agreement.

The last time a similar amnesty program was offered was in 2002 and there are no plans for offering this opportunity anytime in the near future.

Important Exceptions
Amnesty is not available to individuals or businesses that are, or have been, the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation or prosecution, who have previously filed a false or fraudulent return or statement, or who file a fraudulent amnesty return.

Tax Amnesty 2016 is also not available to taxpayers who are seeking a waiver of tax penalties related to a pre-existing assessment, whether paid or unpaid. Taxpayers who received amnesty in the 2014 or 2015 tax amnesty programs are not eligible for this amnesty with regard to the particular tax type and period for which the taxpayer was previously granted amnesty.

For additional information about the 2016 Tax Amnesty Program, including eligibility, the limited look-back period, and a full list of exceptions and limitations, see TIR 16-4.

Consequences After MA Tax Amnesty 2016
DOR’s new state-of-the-art integrated tax system will make it easier to identify those who have not complied with Massachusetts tax laws. Consequences and enforcement actions include: 

  • Assessment of double the amount of tax due and other penalties.
  • Loss of the limited look-back period for unfiled returns. There is no statute of limitations on unfiled returns.
  • Risk a six-year audit period with additional penalties on a previously filed return if certain underreporting criteria are identified.
  • Face escalating enforcement efforts, including potential criminal prosecution.

Tax Amnesty 2016 - Version 1 - April 1-May 31 Mass.gov/Tax Amnesty