Louisiana tax amnesty program starts at midnight on September 23 - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Louisiana tax amnesty program starts at midnight on September 23, 2013


New Orleans, La.- The Louisiana Department of Revenue says the tax amnesty program is the best way to get in the clear.

"Are you behind on your state taxes and don't know where to start? This is your opportunity for a fresh start with the Louisiana Department of Revenue," said Secretary of Revenue Tim Barfield in a promotional video.

It's promoted as a chance to settle accounts by paying all taxes due and only half the interest. Delinquent taxpayers and non-filers will also be exempt from all penalties.

It's a program that was voted on as part of this year's budget, but isn't supported by many lawmakers.

"You're never going to collect every single dime which you could, but this is a reaction," said Westwego Representative Robert Billiot.

A reaction that, New Orleans representative Austin Badon, Jr. says, sends the wrong message.

"Instead of aggressively going out and working with the people that have back taxes and making sure that they will have a penalty. We will not let this go. Everybody is paying their fair share and paying their taxes in full. You have to do the same. This is an enforcement issue," said Badon.

The hope is the state will collect $200 million from this program. It's only a fraction of the $1.4 billion owed in unpaid taxes and interest.

"The amnesty program is a method to try and recoup some of those moneys, but there are so many millions of dollars left on the table that we could better use and utilize to help fund programs for people that are in need," said Badon.

Lawmakers against the program say it's too easy for people to take advantage of it, and wait for these amnesty periods instead of paying taxes on time.

"What do we want to do with this situation for people who may have been through this more than one, maybe two or three times. I don't know but let's try to do as much as we can to correct the problem if there is a problem," said Billiot.

The program lasts from September 23, 2013 to November 22, 2013.

Click here to learn more and see if you're are eligible for the program.

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