State Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges told members of the Baton Rouge Press Club today that a two month tax amnesty program is expected to bring in about $150 million in taxes that are overdue. “This is an opportunity for the state to receive a quick infusion of cash.” said Bridges. The Revenue Secretary estimated that about $473 million in back taxes, both corporate and individual, are now on the books.
The amnesty program was approved by the legislature during its recent regular session. It allows individuals and businesses to pay state tax debts in exchange for waived penalties and one-half the interest due. During the last state tax amnesty period in September and October of 2001, $192 million was collected. Bridges says the collections for this year’s program, which begins September 1 and ends October 31, will likely be less because of the economy, and the inability for some taxpayers to afford to square their account with the state.
Some of the money raised is earmarked for coastal restoration. An effort during the session to dedicate another portion to higher education failed to gain legislative support. For more information, visit the Louisiana Department of Revenue website at www.revenue.la.gov.