Tax amnesty plan beats expectations

CARSON CITY — A tax amnesty program implemented by Gov. Jim Gibbons has brought in $6.6 million since July 1, exceeding the $4 million amount anticipated by the Legislature with several weeks remaining for businesses to participate.

The tax amnesty program is being administered by the state Department of Taxation and will last through Sept. 30.

Of the total collected so far, $4.6 million will go to the state’s cash-strapped general fund.

The remainder will be allocated to local governments based on existing tax formulas.

The Legislature anticipated $4 million would go to the general fund from the amnesty program when it balanced the budget in a special session June 27.

“During this incredibly difficult economic time, I’m glad we were able to utilize a creative solution to help generate additional revenue without raising taxes,” Gibbons said. “While it obviously doesn’t solve all our problems, the program has already generated (more than) $4 million we didn’t have to take out of education, human services or any of our other important programs.”

Gibbons proposed the amnesty program in May and the emergency regulations were approved by the Nevada Tax Commission in June.

The program allows individuals and businesses to pay the state certain delinquent taxes without having to pay penalties and interest.

Sales and use taxes, modified business taxes and business license fees are included in the program.

Dino DiCianno, executive director of the tax agency, said he’s pleased with the results of the program so far.

“In previous amnesty programs the majority of revenue collections are made during the last weeks of the program because delinquent taxpayers will hold on to their money as long as they can,” he said.

Through the first half of the program the state has collected 3,165 delinquent payments.

Of those, nearly $3.5 million was paid in modified business tax while more than $2.6 million was paid in sales and use tax.

A similar program in 2002 netted $7.3 million, $2.8 million was collected in 1993.

Gibbons said the program will help shore up finances for the rest of the fiscal year.

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