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July 03, 2020

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July 02, 2020

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Texas Comptroller Announces Tax Amnesty Program From May 1, 2018 Through June 29, 2018

Certain Texas taxpayers with undisclosed liabilities will soon have another option to come clean with the Texas Comptroller’s office. The Comptroller’s office recently announced that it will provide a tax amnesty program from May 1, 2018 through June 29, 2018. Although few program specifics have been released, the Comptroller’s office has indicated that the program will offer interest and penalty relief with respect to certain liabilities. Based on informal comments from the Comptroller’s staff, it seems that the program will apply to many of the taxes administered by the Comptroller, including the Texas sales and franchise taxes. However, the Comptroller has already indicated that the program is not available for periods under audit, taxpayer liabilities the Comptroller has already identified, IFTA taxes, PUC gross receipts assessments, local motor vehicle tax, and unclaimed property payments.

Senate Bill 1, enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2017, required the Comptroller to establish the amnesty program “to encourage a voluntary reporting by delinquent taxpayers who do not hold a permit, or are otherwise not registered for a tax or fee administered by the Comptroller, or those permitted taxpayers that may have underreported or owe additional taxes or fees.”

Taxpayers interested in participating in the program should carefully examine their facts and past liabilities and should weigh the pros and cons of the amnesty program against other alternatives, such as a voluntary disclosure agreement with the Comptroller. Currently available to certain taxpayers wishing to disclose and pay past liabilities, a voluntary disclosure agreement also offers benefits, such as interest and penalty waivers and limited lookback periods. The Comptroller has not yet indicated how the amnesty program qualification requirements and/or benefits will differ from a voluntary disclosure, but taxpayers concerned about receiving an audit notice, or otherwise becoming ineligible to participate in the amnesty program, prior to the program’s May 1 start date should carefully consider a voluntary disclosure agreement.

Copyright 2020 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 9


About this Author

Cynthia Ohlenforst, KL Gates Law Firm, Tax Law Attorney

Ms. Ohlenforst has a broad tax practice, and extensive experience in state and federal tax planning and controversy matters (including litigation) and in legislative work. Her dispute resolution practice includes multistate litigation and administrative proceedings, and her transactional practice includes contract negotiation, e-commerce, internet, and technology transactions. Ms. Ohlenforst frequently works with the energy, technology, broadcasting, transportation, and airline industries, and has worked with legislators on drafting multiple provisions of the Texas Tax...

Sam Megally, KL Gates Law Firm, Tax Law Attorney

Mr. Megally focuses his state and local tax practice on both Texas and multi-state matters, particularly relating to tax planning and controversies involving income tax, sales tax, franchise tax, and property tax. As part of his controversy practice, he has extensive experience representing taxpayers in tax disputes, including administrative proceedings and litigation against the Texas Comptroller, departments of revenue in other states, and local taxing jurisdictions both in and outside of Texas. He has also worked extensively on tax-related legislative representations, both in Texas and in other states. He has substantial experience representing taxpayers in a broad range of industries, including both e-commerce and traditional brick & mortar retailers, travel and tourism companies, air carriers and private aircraft operators, and hospitals and pharmaceutical and health care companies.

William LeDoux, KL Gates Law Firm, Tax Law Attorney

Mr. LeDoux’s practice has a broad state and local tax focus with experience in multistate tax planning and controversy matters involving sales, franchise, property, and income taxes and unclaimed property. He has assisted in the representation of taxpayers in administrative and judicial proceedings in various jurisdictions and has advised on the tax implications of various business transactions, including business acquisitions and restructurings, asset and product sales and leases, and tax incentive opportunities.

Mr. LeDoux has assisted in the...