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Texas comptroller’s amnesty program begins May 1

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Kevin Herzberg
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John LaBorde
Houston
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Terry Gaul
Houston
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Rick Herrmann
Houston
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Jamie C. Yesnowitz
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Lori Stolly
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Priya D. Nair
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The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has announced that a tax amnesty program will be held from May 1 through June 29, 2018.1 The program applies to tax periods prior to January 1, 2018 and provides relief from penalties and interest on liabilities that have not been previously identified as due by the Comptroller.

Eligible Taxes and TaxpayersIn 2017, Texas enacted budget legislation that included a provision directing the Comptroller to establish a tax amnesty program for a limited duration.2 The legislation provides that the program should encourage voluntary reporting by:

  • Delinquent taxpayers who do not have a Texas sales and use tax permit, or are not registered for a tax or fee administered by the Comptroller’s office; and
  • Taxpayers who have a permit, but may have underreported or owe additional taxes or fees.

The program does not apply to periods currently under audit review, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) taxes, Public Utility Commission (PUC) gross receipts assessments, local motor vehicle tax and unclaimed property payments. The Comptroller’s office has indicated that it will add further information concerning the program to its Web site.3

Commentary This is the first tax amnesty program that Texas has offered since 2012. In encouraging taxpayers to participate in the program, the Comptroller has explained that “there are no excuses necessary” for taxpayers who qualify for amnesty. Taxpayers who believe they owe any Texas taxes should review whether a potential outstanding tax liability may exist and if so, consider participating in the program to avoid interest and penalties. Because the amnesty program provisions in the legislation are general and the Comptroller’s announcement of the program dates does not provide much detail, taxpayers considering participation in the program should consult the Comptroller’s Web site as the commencement date of the amnesty approaches for further information. In some cases, taxpayers may decide that it is more advantageous to enter into a voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) to address their prior year’s tax liabilities.

State tax amnesty programs have been popular during the past two years. Taxpayers also should consider participation in the amnesty programs that currently are being offered by Connecticut,4 Ohio5 and Rhode Island.6



1 News Release, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Dec. 21, 2017.
2 S.B. 1, Laws 2017, § 17.11.
3 See https://comptroller.texas.gov/tax-amnesty.
4 For further information, see GT SALT Alert: Connecticut Budget Revises Net Deferred Tax Liability Deduction Provisions.
5 This program is discussed in GT SALT Alert: Ohio Enacts Budget Including Expanded Sales Tax Nexus, Municipal Income Tax Changes, and Amnesty Program.
6 For further information, see GT SALT Alert: Rhode Island Imposes Notice and Reporting Requirements on Non-Collecting Retailers; Establishes Tax Amnesty Program.



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