News and Insights

Florida Lawmakers Approve 2010 Tax Amnesty

Tax Development May 06, 2010

Florida lawmakers have approved a bill authorizing the state’s first tax amnesty program (“Program”) since 2003. House Bill 5801 was approved by both chambers on April 30, 2010, the closing day of the Florida Legislature’s 60-day session. It now awaits action by Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

House Bill 5801 directs the Florida Department of Revenue (“Department”) to conduct a tax amnesty from July 1 through September 30, 2010 applicable to tax liabilities due prior to July 1, 2010. The state expects the Program to generate $82.9 million in revenue.

The Program will apply to all income taxes, sales and use taxes, motor vehicle taxes, estate taxes, gross receipts taxes, excise taxes on documents, taxes on intangible personal property, communications services taxes, severance taxes, and insurance premium taxes levied under Florida Statutes Chapters 125, 175, 185, 198, 199, 201, 202, 203, 206, 211, 212, 220, 221, 252, 336, 376, 403, 624, 627, 629, and 681. It will not apply to local option taxes administered by local governments unless the local government elects to participate and notifies the Department by June 1, 2010.

All taxpayers are eligible for the Program, except those currently under criminal investigation, indictment, information, or prosecution regarding a Florida revenue law. Taxpayers who have entered into settlements of liability for state or local option taxes before July 1, 2010 are also ineligible to participate, whether or not full and complete payment of the settlement amount has been made.

Taxpayers who are under audit, inquiry, examination, or civil investigation by the Department may participate and are responsible for the full amount of tax due but receive a 25% reduction in interest. A taxpayer who initiates contact with the Department is responsible for the full amount of tax due but receives a 50% reduction in interest. Late penalties are waived on any tax paid pursuant to the Program.

Participating taxpayers are required to waive any right to claim a refund, protest, or initiate any administrative proceeding that challenges any assessment administered under the Program. Pre-existing protests or administrative or judicial proceedings must be dismissed. The bill permits the Department to rescind a grant of amnesty in the event of fraud, misrepresentation, or mutual mistake of fact.