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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Sisk, GTG

Amnesty Programs: How Do They Work?

Updated: Oct 31, 2017

By: Lindsay Sisk, Gable Tax Group

While researching for topics for my blog this week I came across tax changes for Oklahoma. I’ve referenced this state a few times because they are going through some major changes tax wise, mostly to collect additional revenue. Most recently they announced they will no longer allow a vendor discount when filing sales tax, and for some sellers with large tax remittance, this unfortunately means they won’t be receiving the additional $2,500 discount every month.

Another instance is the launch of their 2017 amnesty program. Enrolled House Bill No. 2380 was approved May 17, 2017 allowing taxpayers to come forth starting September 1, 2017 but no later than November 30, 2017. To do so, a tax payer must enter a Voluntary Disclosure Initiative which provides procedures for waiver of penalty and interest as well establishes a timeline to pay the taxes owed. You can get more detailed information at the link below regarding the requirements of the Bill.

So, this begs the question, what exactly is an amnesty program and why would you want to enter one? Amnesty is “an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses”.  Jurisdictions have different guidelines when it comes to their specific amnesty program, so I highly suggest consulting a professional (like Gable Tax Group ), or read the specific information for that particular amnesty program before entering into one.

Jurisdictions offer amnesty programs with hopes of generating additional tax revenue. Normally, regulations are put in place to charge penalty and interest on past due taxes to motivate (or scare, let’s be real) taxpayers to pay their taxes timely. The amnesty program allows for taxpayers to come forth without the fear or burden of having to pay penalties or in some cases, interest as well.

How do you know if you qualify? There’s a few situations where a company may have unreported tax. First, it simply wasn’t reported. Either you had a one-time sale and were planning on returning it to the customer, or you’re lacking staff and didn’t realize it was on your general ledger. Second, maybe you acquired a company that never collected when they should have been, or you pay for a nexus or tax matrix study and find out you should have been collecting all along and want to come forward. Whatever the reason, as long as you are not intending on holding on to the tax for personal gain, (which is highly illegal and will land you in prison) tax amnesty programs allow taxpayers to come forward without the worry of the large price tag of additional penalties and interest to pay the taxes.

Ultimately amnesty programs allow taxpayers to come forward with less worry while taxing jurisdictions get the added benefit of additional tax revenue; it truly is a win-win for both parties involved.

Does your company have unreported sales and use tax liability and need help getting compliant? Have you had a nexus or matrix study recently? Let Gable Tax Group help you become compliant. Call us at 888.872.6579 for a free consultation or email us at

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