The Massachusetts Department of Revenue released TIR 15-2 specifying the administrative details of the amnesty program authorized by the legislature earlier this year. The amnesty period is open now through May 15, 2015, for eligible taxpayers who owe corporate excise taxes (business corporations, as well as financial institutions, and insurance companies); estate taxes; fiduciary income taxes; and individual use tax on motor vehicles. Any tax that was covered by the amnesty program offered last fall is ineligible.

A taxpayer with an outstanding assessment is eligible for the amnesty program if the taxpayer has an assessment of an unpaid and self-assessed tax liability stated on a bill issued by the Commissioner on or before January 1, 2015 or a tax liability assessed by the Commissioner dated on or before January 1, 2015 that remains unpaid. All other taxpayers are eligible if the taxpayer is a corporation, and the taxpayer is in compliance with the requirement to file an annual report imposed by the Secretary of State. An eligible taxpayer who participates in the Amnesty Program will not be eligible to participate in any future tax Amnesty Programs for a period of ten consecutive years, beginning with calendar year 2015. The Department intends to notify taxpayers that are eligible to participate in the program.

The following taxpayers are not eligible to participate in the amnesty program:

  1. Any taxpayer engaged in pending litigation with the Commissioner if, as of March 16, 2015, the Appellate Tax Board or any court of law has made a determination in the Commissioner’s favor with regard to the issue being litigated, where (i) such determination relates either to the pending period or (ii) such determination relates to a prior tax period and the Commissioner concludes that the contested issue in the current period is substantially identical to the issue upon which the determination was made for the prior period;
  2. Any taxpayer who has been or is the subject of a tax-related criminal investigation or prosecution;
  3. Any taxpayer who has delivered or disclosed a false or fraudulent application, document, return or other statement.
  4. Any taxpayer, with respect to tax periods regarding which the taxpayer has signed a settlement agreement with the Commissioner including, without limitation, any settlement reached through the Department’s Litigation Bureau, Office of Appeals, or Offer-in-Settlement Unit; and
  5. Any taxpayer, with respect to tax periods covered by a settlement agreement, who still owes or is properly disputing penalties with regard to an assessment for those periods at the start of the Amnesty Period.

In order to receive a full waiver of penalties under the amnesty program, a taxpayer must pay tax and interest in full for a particular tax type and period. In addition, a taxpayer participating in the amnesty program must agree to waive any right to claim a refund of any amounts paid pursuant to the program. In exchange, the taxpayer will be granted amnesty for unpaid penalties associated with such tax type and period.

A PDF of the TIR can be found here: TIR 15-2.