|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770|
|March 22, 2004||Kathryn Strombeck, Research Analyst, 701-328-3402|
Tax Department Collects $6.9 Million in Taxes from Amnesty Program
BISMARCK --- North Dakota Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh today announced that the Tax Department collected approximately $6.9 million through the recently completed Tax Amnesty Program.
The 2003 Legislature provided for an amnesty for all state taxes administered by the Tax Department. The Program offered amnesty from civil action and criminal prosecution for those taxpayers who met the Program's criteria, which included full payment of all taxes and required interest. The amnesty period ran from October 1, 2003 through January 31, 2004.
"By all measures, the Tax Amnesty Program was a success," said Clayburgh. "We want to keep our taxes low for all of North Dakota's citizens, so everybody needs to pay their fair share. Taxpayers who filed under amnesty were able to clean the slate and the state saved the continued expense of time and effort to pursue those dollars and avoided costly litigation expenses and extended delays."
Included in the amnesty collections is $6.1 million that was paid by taxpayers who were paying off existing tax liabilities, most of which had been included in the state budget forecast. Taxpayers also paid on tax audits and filed amended tax returns that increased the amount of their original tax liabilities. Of the total amount collected through Amnesty, the Tax Department received about $806,000 from 185 new taxpayers filing returns dating back as far as 1976.
"This was a job given to us and we more than accomplished our mission," said Clayburgh. "The Tax Department employees did a tremendous job working with taxpayers to clean up accounts - it truly was a team effort. The bottom line is, some of this was 25 years old. And the fact that only 185 new filers were added to the existing base of nearly 375,000 taxpayers speaks well of the high level of voluntary compliance by North Dakota's taxpayers."
In order to qualify for the Amnesty Program, taxpayers had to fill out an application, file all appropriate tax returns, and pay 100 percent of the tax due as well as 25 percent of the statutory interest by January 31, 2004. A total of 752 amnesty applications, some containing returns dating back to the 1970s, were accepted.
Sixty-one percent of the taxpayers applying for Amnesty were individuals, twenty-five percent were businesses, eight percent were corporations, and six percent were applications for miscellaneous tax types.
"I congratulate the Tax Department and Commissioner Clayburgh," said House Majority Leader Rick Berg. "The Tax Amnesty Program far exceeded anything the Legislature had hoped for by generating immediate new dollars and accelerating forecasted revenue collections."