Delaware offers tax amnesty

    Delinquent taxpayers in Delaware are being offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to come clean.

    Delinquent taxpayers in Delaware are being offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to come clean.

    The amnesty program runs through Oct. 30, and will allow individuals and businesses who owe taxes the chance to pay up without facing penalties, interest and possible legal action.

    State officials say it’s been more than 25 years since the state has offered a tax amnesty.

    For Delaware it’s a chance to generate some much-needed revenue. For residents it could be the chance of a lifetime.

    “For some delinquent taxpayers it is an opportunity to save a lot of money because their liability has been building up over a number of years,” said Patrick Carter, director of the Division of Revenue. “Our interest rate until recently was 18 percent per year so their interest if they have four or five years of unpaid taxes could be quite high.”

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    From Sept. 1 to Oct. 30, any individual or business taxpayer who registers to file any outstanding tax returns or pay their current outstanding tax liability administered by the Division of Revenue will have their penalty and interest fees waived.

    All balances must then be paid in full by June 30, 2010.

    Of the known $70 million in outstanding tax liabilities, Delaware officials hope to recoup about $10 million in revenue that otherwise might be lost.

    “In this existing economic climate it’s hard to judge who has the resources to come forward and try to satisfy those liabilities ahead of schedule,” Carter said. “And for non-filers, because they are unknown, we just don’t know how many are out there and how quickly they’ll come in or whether they will come in.”

    The tax amnesty idea was part of Gov. Jack Markell’s campaign platform and based on the success of some neighboring states. New Jersey, while a much larger state, recovered $700 million in a recently completed amnesty program. State officials there had hoped to gain $200 million.

    For more information go to the state’s website, www.Delaware.gov.

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