DALLAS — Louisiana's two-month state tax amnesty period that begins Sept. 23 must bring in at least $200 million to balance the state's $25 billion budget for fiscal 2014.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget allocates $200 million from the first year of the Fresh Start program to the Department of Health and Hospitals for cover health care expenses that must be paid in fiscal 2014.
An analysis of House Bill 456 by the Legislative Fiscal Office in June estimated total additional revenues of $175 million from the program. Most of the money is expected in the first year of the three-year amnesty.
"The impact of this bill is highly uncertain," the analysts said. "Any specific amounts expected to be collected would be speculative."
There are 300,000 taxpayers eligible for the amnesty program that owe a total of $700 million, the legislative analysis said. An estimated 30,000 taxpayers are expected to take advantage of the amnesty.
The Fresh Start program is the sixth tax amnesty in Louisiana since 1985.
The latest tax amnesty in 2010 brought in $482.7 million from more than 40,000 taxpayers.
The amnesty covers sales and income taxes, but not motor fuel taxes. Taxpayers involved in criminal investigations are not eligible.
The state will waive all the penalties and half the accrued interest if delinquent taxpayers pay in full during the period that ends Nov. 22.
Less-generous one-month amnesties are scheduled in 2014 and 2015 under the law passed by the 2013 Legislature. None of the interest will be waived in the second and third years, with 15% of the penalties waived in 2014 and 10% in 2015.
Those eligible for the grace period will be notified by the Department of Revenue of the amount that must be paid to remove the liability.
Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said the rules of the amnesty program will be simple and easy to understand.
"We want to make certain that this direct benefit to taxpayers will be a way to help them and their families without jumping through a lot of hoops or going through red tape," he said.
Further details will be announced Sept. 9, Barfield said.