2012 TAX AMNESTY POLICY
Administrative Rule Adopted by Revenue Bureau Pursuant to Rule-Making Policy
On April 24, 2012, the Revenue Bureau announced a tax amnesty program that would be made available to qualifying businesses that are out of compliance with Portland City Code 7.02 (City of Portland Business License Tax) or Multnomah County Code Chapter 12 (Multnomah County Business Income Tax). The details of the amnesty program are as follows:
The amnesty period will be from May 15, 2012 to July 16, 2012 and there will be no extensions or exceptions. Any returns postmarked after July 16, 2012 will not be allowed to benefit from the terms of this policy.
The amnesty program is limited to 1) taxpayers who do not have an existing City of Portland Business License Tax (BLT) or Multnomah County Business Income Tax (MCBIT) account with the Revenue Bureau and 2) taxpayers that have an existing BLT/MCBIT account, but who have not filed returns with the Bureau in each of the three or more most recently completed (as of the first day of the amnesty program) tax years. Taxpayers who have been previously contacted or pursued by the Revenue Bureau will still be eligible to participate in the program as long as at least one of the two above criteria are met.
Qualifying taxpayers are entitled to a waiver of penalties and a reduction of interest if returns are filed for all years of unreported business activity. Taxpayers are also entitled to a waiver/reduction of penalties and interest by filing the return for the current (most recently completed) tax year and the returns for all four preceding tax years. In either case, all penalties will be waived and the annual interest rate will be reduced from 10% to 5%. No interest on underpayment of quarterly payments will be due.
All unfiled returns (or the returns for the five most recently completed tax years) must be filed by the end of the amnesty period in order to receive any reduction of penalties or interest. In other words, amnesty relief will not be granted on any tax years unless the taxpayer complies with all aspects of the amnesty program during the amnesty period. The remaining tax and interest must also be paid (or a payment plan accepted by the Revenue Bureau must be in place) by the end of the amnesty period in order to receive any relief under the amnesty program.
If the taxpayer elects to file the returns for the five most recently completed tax years, the taxpayer will be considered in full compliance (i.e., the Revenue Bureau will not pursue the returns for the prior tax years) as long as all five of the most recent returns have been filed by the end of the amnesty period.
If the end of the amnesty period occurs prior to the extended due date of the return for the most recently completed tax period, an extension (with an estimated tax payment) will be accepted in lieu of a tax return. In tax years where a taxpayer is exempt from filing a tax return for BLT/MCBIT, an exemption request form with supporting tax pages will be accepted in lieu of a tax return.
Additional Incentive to Participate
As an additional means to encourage compliance under the amnesty program, any taxpayer that could have taken advantage of the amnesty program (and did not) will not be allowed to take advantage of the Revenue Bureau’s existing "Voluntary Compliance Policy."
The Revenue Bureau’s "2012 Tax Amnesty Program Application Form" should be completed. When filing tax returns (including extensions and exemption requests, if applicable) under the amnesty program, "2012 Tax Amnesty" should be written boldly across the top of the return. If possible, all returns and forms should be filed together in one packet.
On May 9, 2012, Portland City Council passed Ordinance #185312. On May 10, 2012, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners passed Ordinance #1191. These ordinances were passed in order to ensure that businesses who apply under this program will remain confidential. This information is exempt from disclosure as public records under Oregon Revised Statute 192.502 (4). The City of Portland and Multnomah County will not disclose this information as the participation this tax amnesty program would substantially decrease without providing the condition of anonymity and confidentiality to businesses.
Adopted by Revenue Bureau Director May 11, 2012.
Filed for inclusion in PPD May 16, 2012.