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Colorado taxpayers ‘Jump At The Chance’ during tax amnesty offer

More than 1,000 tax returns have been filed by Colorado individuals and businesses paying back taxes during the first three weeks of Colorado’s tax amnesty program.

“We are seeing strong participation from Colorado residents who have a chance to pay past-due taxes with no penalty and at half the usual interest rate,” said Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. “These opportunities rarely happen, so taxpayers need to act soon to take advantage of this amnesty.”

The Colorado Department of Revenue reports $803,938 was collected from Oct. 1, when the amnesty period began, to Oct. 24. More than half of the money collected, $488,594, came from individual income tax filings, due on or before Dec. 31, 2010. Thousands of hits to the coloradotaxamnesty.com website, and more than 2,000 telephone inquiries have been tallied.?

The?Colorado Department of Revenue also reports a?large majority of participation in this amnesty is coming from in-state, individual income taxpayers along the Front Range. Businesses throughout Colorado are also encouraged to pay any back taxes before the amnesty expires on Nov. 15. In the amnesty period, corporate income tax collections currently total $122,930.

The amnesty effort, branded as “Jump at the Chance,” is being supported with an extensive public outreach campaign, featuring broadcast ads, cooperation from CPAs and commercial tax preparers, and the endorsement of chambers of commerce and other business groups.?

All Colorado taxes are eligible for amnesty, with the exception of the International Fuel Tax Agreement, the Passenger Mile Tax and the International Registration Program. The amnesty also does not cover 2010 Colorado income tax. Taxpayers who received a delinquency notice prior to the amnesty, or are facing criminal investigation, are also ineligible. Eligible taxpayers can pay the total tax owed and half the total interest and avoid all civil and criminal penalties.

The current tax amnesty period was authorized this year by the Colorado legislature, and signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The majority of revenue collected during the amnesty period will transfer directly to the state education fund to support K-12 education in Colorado.

Colorado’s decision to offer tax amnesty is a rare program. The last time the State of Colorado offered tax amnesty was eight years ago, in 2003. During that period, the Department of Revenue collected $23.4 million in unpaid taxes from 4,100 taxpayers who filed 13,400 returns. Prior to 2003, the only other tax amnesty offered by the state was in 1985. That effort resulted in the collection of $6.4 million in unpaid taxes due to the state. The bill authorizing the 1985 amnesty contained 51 new or increased civil and criminal penalties for delinquent taxpayers.

For more information about Jump at the Chance-Colorado Tax Amnesty, including what types of tax are covered under amnesty, visit www.coloradotaxamnesty.com. Interested parties can call the Colorado Department of Revenue’s taxation hotline at (303) 205-8288 or toll-free at (855) 330-3490. All tax returns must be postmarked no later than Nov. 15, 2011.

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