The Missouri House gave first-round approval Tuesday to a proposed amnesty period that could help delinquent taxpayers pay off their debts while boosting state revenue.
Under the tax amnesty plan, officials would waive the interest and penalties for those who pay their tax bills between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31. Taxpayers who take advantage of the amnesty would need to comply with state tax laws for the next eight years, or they would owe the penalties and interest that were waived. Participants would not be eligible for a future amnesty for the same tax.
"If you're behind the 8-ball, all we're looking for is the payment of the tax," said sponsoring Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage.
Supporters of the amnesty said encouraging delinquent taxpayers to pay their debts would help state government's balance sheet.
Flanigan estimated the tax amnesty measure could give Missouri a one-time boost of $75 million, and the operating budgets proposed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led House each anticipate collecting additional tax revenues from an amnesty period.
A similar tax amnesty program in Missouri during the 2002 budget year brought in $74 million. One the following the year generated $42 million.
Lawmakers during the past several years have debated tax amnesties while confronting a significant state budget downturn but have been unable to win final approval for the idea.