Tax amnesty program implemented to encourage compliance

Q&A with Richard D. Johnson II

published in The Oklahoman | May 31, 2017

On May 24, 2017, Governor Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2380, a measure designed to encourage tax compliance by providing amnesty to certain Oklahoma taxpayers. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman, McAfee & Taft corporate and tax lawyer Richard D. Johnson II explained how the voluntary disclosure initiative works and what types of state taxes are eligible for amnesty.

According to Johnson, the bill directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to establish a voluntary disclosure initiative that grants a waiver of penalties, interest and other collection fees on certain taxes to taxpayers who voluntarily file their delinquent tax returns and remit their overdue taxes anytime during the amnesty period of September 1 and November 30, 2017. Eligible state taxes include income tax for tax periods ending prior to January 1, 2016, sales tax, use tax, withholding tax, mixed beverage tax, gasoline and diesel tax, and gross production and petroleum excise tax. Local and federal taxes are excluded, as are certain state taxes, such as ad valorem taxes and excise taxes on vehicles and aircraft.

“All taxpayers may participate in this program, provided that, such taxpayer doesn’t have any other outstanding tax liabilities; hasn’t been contacted by the OTC, or a third party acting on behalf of the OTC, about the taxpayer’s potential or actual obligation to file a return or make a payment to the state; hasn’t collected taxes from others and failed to report and/or remit those taxes to the OTC (a modified voluntary disclosure agreement may be available for these taxpayers, but that option is outside the scope of this discussion); and hasn’t, within the past three years, entered into a similar voluntary disclosure agreement,” said Johnson.