Louisiana expects a two-month tax amnesty period to bring in at least $150 million, Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges said at the Press Club of Baton Rouge this week, with most of it going to coastal restoration projects.
The program applies to taxes due between July 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2008. If the taxes are paid in full, the state will waive all penalties and half of the interest.
Bridges said individuals and corporations owe $437 million in delinquent taxes. She said the program is designed for taxpayers in litigation with the state and those being audited, as well as those who did not pay taxes.
Bridges called the amnesty program “an opportunity for the state to receive a quick infusion of cash.”
Lawmakers this year took $86 million from the state’s budget stabilization fund to restore reductions in the fiscal 2010 budget caused by a $1.2 billion drop in revenue, but promised to repay it quickly.
HB 720, which authorized the amnesty period, allocates the first $89 million of revenue from the program to coastal protection and restoration. If the revenue does not exceed the forecast, there will be only $61 million available to be dedicated to the rainy-day fund.
The tax amnesty program is the state’s fifth since 1985.
The program is being operated by Diversified Collection Services of California, under a contract with Louisiana. If the program brings in the expected $150 million, the company will be paid $5 million.