Deadline looms on state tax amnesty program

A Pennsylvania tax amnesty program is about to expire.
A Pennsylvania tax amnesty program is about to expire. Digital First Media File Photo

The clock is ticking for those who are behind in paying their state taxes.

And there’s quite a few of them.

According to state records, there are almost 1 million people eligible for 2017 PA Tax Amnesty program, which waives all penalties and half of the interest for those who pay their past-due state taxes, said Acting Revenue Secretary C. Daniel Hassell. The 60-day program ends at midnight on Monday, June 19.

In the region, those eligible for the program include:

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• 29,695 in Chester County;

• 41,752 in Delaware County;

• 54,769 in Montgomery County;

• 41,581 in Bucks County;

• 132,336 in Philadelphia.

In total, there are 862,598 taxpayers eligible for the program, the state Department of Revenue said.

According to the department, individuals and businesses with unpaid or underpaid state taxes as of Dec. 31, 2015 are eligible for the program as are taxpayers who did not file a return for tax periods due on or before Dec. 31, 2015.

“The June 19 deadline is set by law and will not be extended,” Hassell said. “We encourage those with back taxes to not wait until the deadline. After June 19, a 5 percent penalty will be added to what is owed.”

Act 84 of 2016 authorized a tax amnesty for more than 30 taxes administered by the Department of Revenue, including the corporate net income tax, employer withholding tax, sales tax, and personal income tax.

More than 21,000 applications for amnesty worth an estimated $72 million have been submitted or are in development by taxpayers, the department said. More than 91,000 calls have been answered at the toll-free Tax Amnesty hotline, 1-844-727-8283, a spokeswoman added.

Applications and full payments must be made or postmarked by midnight Monday, June 19. Payments are accepted by check, money order, credit/debit card or electronic funds transfer, the state said.

Delinquent taxpayers from all Pennsylvania counties and every U.S. state owe $3.47 billion in Pennsylvania taxes, the Department of Revenue reported. Of that total, $1.1 billion is delinquent from 2005 and earlier, $889 million is under appeal, and $2.2 billion represents delinquent tax, interest, penalties and fees.

Approximately 21 percent of delinquent taxpayers are from out of state, including 68,700 taxpayers in Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia.

Businesses owe 65 percent of the back taxes in corporation taxes, employer withholding taxes and sales tax. Delinquent sales tax accounts for 26 percent of the total.

Those not eligible include taxpayers who participated in the 2010 Pennsylvania Tax Amnesty program; taxpayers under criminal investigation, criminal prosecution, or criminal restitution for allegedly violating a tax law; those in bankruptcy unless the Bankruptcy Court grants permission; and taxpayers with a current voluntary disclosure agreement for periods eligible for the program.

All taxes administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue are eligible for the amnesty program. A complete list is at www.backtax.pa.gov.

– To contact Business Editor Brian McCullough, call 610-235-2655 or send an email to bmccullough@dailylocal.com.