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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770
December 12, 2003

Tax Amnesty Update

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced that nearly 200 taxpayers have paid $704,602 in overdue taxes in North Dakota's tax amnesty program. The amount is as of December 5 and is the latest data available for roughly the half-way point of the program.

"As a rule, amnesty participation surges at the beginning of the program and then again during the final few weeks. We anticipate that the activity will slow down during the holiday season," said Clayburgh.

The 2003 Legislature directed the Tax Department to conduct a tax amnesty program, which began October 1 and ends January 31, 2004. The program was estimated to generate about $550,000 for North Dakota's budget. North Dakota's only other experience with tax amnesty was in 1982, when the state netted about $150,000 from nearly 100 individuals and businesses. In 2003, ten other states and one city have conducted amnesty programs. South Dakota's amnesty program in 1999 brought that state about $500,000 in taxes.

Through December 5, 135 taxpayers with existing accounts receivable liabilities have taken the opportunity to pay off their overdue account under North Dakota's tax amnesty program for a total of $237,275. Amnesty payments of accounts receivable liabilities are primarily from individuals and businesses owing income, sales, motor vehicle excise, and withholding taxes.

Forty new taxpayers filed delinquent returns under tax amnesty and paid a total amount of $189,415. These returns have been filed primarily by individuals who had neglected to file their income tax returns. The remaining returns filed under amnesty include sales, estate, corporate income, and withholding tax returns.

Twenty-four taxpayers who had been audited by the Tax Department chose to pay in full under amnesty and agreed to not protest the audit which would have delayed the collection. To date, these taxpayers have paid $277,912 for sales, corporate income, and motor vehicle excise tax.

"This is a rare opportunity for individuals and businesses who owe taxes to the state," said Clayburgh. "Unlike some states that have repeatedly conducted amnesty programs, the last time North Dakota offered tax amnesty was over twenty years ago."

Tax amnesty is available for all taxes administered by the Office of State Tax Commissioner where the original return due date was prior to July 1, 2003. Under the program, amnesty participants must pay the tax owed along with 25 percent of the interest. All penalties are waived and the Tax Department will not pursue legal action if amnesty participants accurately disclose and pay in full their overdue taxes and interest within the tax amnesty period.

For more information, visit www.nd.gov/tax or call the Office of State Tax Commissioner at 701-328-2770.

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