Massachusetts Non-Filer Amnesty Details Revealed

BOSTON, June 3, 2015. In early March of this year Governor Charlie Baker proposed a tax amnesty for taxpayers who have not filed tax returns with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. According to reports published over the Internet, MDOR will waive penalties for both business and individual taxpayers. Today, representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue informally released additional information regarding the proposed Massachusetts non-filer amnesty program. This information is:

The tax amnesty will begin about February, 2016 and will run for sixty (60) days.

Payment in full of unpaid taxes must be made by June 30, 2016.

There may be changes to the Massachusetts Voluntary Disclosure Program. The Massachusetts Voluntary Disclosure Program is briefly discussed below.

My comments follow:

The sixty-day amnesty period contradicts contemporaneous reports published over the Internet that the amnesty period would be for the entire fiscal year 2016 that begins on July 1, 2015 and ends on June 30, 2016.

If prior amnesties are a guide, the penalties to be abated are the failure-to-pay and failure-to-file penalties.

Businesses and individuals who wish to take advantage of the proposed tax amnesty would do well to come forward now to begin the tax preparation process. Taxpayers owing tax returns and taxes will be poorly served by waiting until the sixty-day window opens in February of 2016. At that point, most tax return preparers will be “flat out” during their 2016 tax season and may be unable to assist delinquent taxpayers. 

In addition, those taxpayers who have never before filed Massachusetts tax returns should consider taking advantage of the Massachusetts Voluntary Disclosure Program. Taxpayers who wait to file, risk discovery along with civil and criminal penalties. Under the Massachusetts Voluntary Disclosure Program, penalties (but not interest) are generally waived and taxpayers do not have to wait until next year to come forward.

Attorney Morris N. Robinson gratefully acknowledges the insight and editorial assistance of Attorney Patricia Weisgerber who reviewed and commented on this article.

Our firm has been successful in representing non-filers and in avoiding penalties under the Massachusetts voluntary disclosure program. For additional information, please contact an M. Robinson & Company attorney at 617/428-6900.

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