Virginia tax amnesty program deadline looms

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The final push by the Commonwealth to have you pay back any back-taxes you owe is underway.

You have until the end of the day on Saturday to either go online, show up in person or give the state a call to pay back those taxes that you owe.

The clock, is ticking fast, as the tax amnesty program is in its home stretch.

"Calls have more than doubled in the past week. The same thing is happening on the web," says Joel Davison with the State Department of Taxation.

So, the state has extended hours for you to pay last minute debts.

But, a warning: "Not wait til the last minute and take the chance of not getting through because a lot of people will be calling," Davison added. Also, when the clock strikes 12:01 Sunday morning, your chance is gone.

The state is in the hole more than $1.2 billion in overdue taxes from some of you. It's a lot of money for a state facing a big deficit. So, to entice you to pay up, the state sent out more than half a million letters to delinquent tax payers.

Under the program, the state sliced the interest you owe in half and scrapped all penalties.

One person, for example, saved almost $2,000 by using this program. The average back-tax bill is more than $2,300.

"The saving are substantial and so are the penalties if you don't pay," says Davison.

A 20 percent penalty will be added to your original bill if you continue to evade the state.

"We know this is a difficult economic time and some are saying 'I'm not going to do this because I can't pay.' Well, they can avoid the 20 percent penalty by setting up a payment plan," says Joel.

That must be done by the Saturday night deadline. Also, you can't miss any payments.

It's a two month program that's nearing its end and when the next amnesty program is put into place is anyone's guess.

The money generated will go to the state's general fund. That includes transportation, education, public safety, along with health and human services. The goal is generate $48 million with the program.

Hopefully by next week, we'll know how much money this program generated for the cash-strapped state.

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