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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oregon tax amnesty: 60% of the money was from corporations

We asked the other day if anyone had any data about who showed up and came clean under the Oregon tax amnesty program that was conducted last fall. Today, a kindly spokesperson at the state Department of Revenue obliged with some facts and figures about the program:

Amnesty applications approved: 8,350

Total amount of taxes and interest paid so far under amnesty program: $33 million (60 percent of this amount was paid by corporate filers)

Number of tax returns received: 16,500

* Personal income tax: 13,500
* Corporate: 1,400
* Transit: 1,400
* Estate, trust, and inheritance: 200

Payment plans: 721

Amount of taxes and interest expected to be collected through payment plans: $3 million

Legislative Revenue Office projected the state would collect $16.7 million under amnesty.

Fascinating stuff, at least for some of us.

What's impossible to keep statistics on, of course, is how the existence of the program might affect taxpayer behavior in the future. Will people and businesses cut corners on their Oregon taxes and wait it out until the next amnesty, when penalties will again be waived and interest rates on back taxes will again be slashed? Of course, there's no guarantee that there will ever be another amnesty, but it's not like people don't take chances when it comes to tax compliance.

Comments (1)

Based on other experiences with similar amnesty programs, you'll get some willing to wait to see if they'll see another amnesty in a couple of years. After about five years without such a wait, though, most tax lawbreakers start to get really twitchy. If they don't get caught, many go call up someone in authority and try to work it out. The very few with steel nerves might last it out, but they're usually caught on other things, such as federal tax evasion.

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