Press Room: Tax Release

April 24, 2012

2012 Texas Tax Amnesty Program

The State of Texas imposes many taxes and has onerous interest and penalty provisions applicable to failure to file and/or late payment of tax. The State recently enacted a tax amnesty program that covers most state and local taxes and fees administered by the Comptroller’s Office. Taxpayers that fail to pay taxes or fees owed during the amnesty period will be responsible for all taxes, fees, penalties and interest owed.

The State also offers a voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) program that provides a limited look-back period in addition to the abatement of penalties and interest for taxes voluntarily disclosed and paid.

Voluntary disclosure may be more advisable in situations where taxpayers have identified Texas liabilities for tax reporting periods older than four years. Highlights of the current Texas amnesty and VDA programs are as follows:

Amnesty Program

  • The amnesty program runs from June 12, 2012, through August 17, 2012.
  • Applicable to taxpayers who failed to file a tax report for all periods originally due before April 1, 2012, underreported tax on a previously filed report, or do not have a permit to report and remit Texas taxes.
  • Applies to all state and local taxes and fees administered by the Comptroller's office, with the exception of Public Utility Commission gross receipts assessments, sports and community venue tax, property taxes and the Unclaimed Property Program.
  • A taxpayer who has signed a settlement agreement or voluntary disclosure agreement before the beginning of the amnesty period is ineligible to participate.
  • Amnesty does not apply to filing periods under audit or identified for an audit.
  • To apply for amnesty, the taxpayer must file a paper return and send a check or money order for the tax due. 
  • All penalty and interest charges resulting from taxes that were unreported or underreported, and remain unpaid, will be waived.

Taxpayers that fail to pay taxes or fees owed during the amnesty period will be responsible for all taxes, fees, penalties and interest owed.

Voluntary Disclosure Agreement Program

  • The VDA program is open to taxpayers throughout the year and applies to virtually all delinquent taxes collected by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
  • Liabilities due to failure to collect taxes and/or file the applicable reports will be limited to reports due four years from the initial taxpayer contact date. If discovered, Texas will enforce a seven year look-back.
  • All taxes that were actually collected by the seller need to be remitted.
  • Statutory penalties and interest will be waived on taxes voluntarily disclosed and paid that were not collected.
  • Agreements will be offered to taxpayers who have not been contacted regarding an audit or investigation, either verbally or in writing.

Our professionals can assist companies in many ways during the amnesty period including, but not limited to, preparing the relevant amnesty applications, quantifying exposures, preparing tax returns, and in some cases even attempting to settle issues directly with the Texas Comptroller’s Office of Public Accounts. Likewise, our professionals can assist companies with participation in a VDA program if deemed more beneficial throughout the year.