Amnesty offered to collect past-due taxes

Businesses and individuals will have an opportunity to pay delinquent taxes at half the interest rate and without penalty or criminal prosecution under the terms of an amnesty program in Colorado.

The program is scheduled to run from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15 and applies to taxes due on or before Dec. 31, 2010.

All tax returns submitted under the amnesty program must be postmarked on or after Oct. 1, but no later than Nov. 15.

“Tax amnesty is an opportunity for those who have past-due taxes to set the record straight,” said Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue. “By paying now, under this program, those taxpayers can avoid the maximum penalty later.”

State legislation enacted earlier this year provides amnesty to those owing Colorado taxes. The state revenue department expects the program to bring in $10 million to $12 million.

All Colorado taxes are eligible for the amnesty program with the exception of the international fuel tax agreement, the passenger mile tax and international registration program. The amnesty also does not cover past-due state income tax for 2010.

In addition, if a taxpayer receives a delinquency notice on or before Oct. 1 for a particular tax and filing period, that amount is not eligible for tax amnesty. Taxpayers who face criminal investigation remain ineligible for tax amnesty as well.

“There are cases where people don’t realize they owe taxes in Colorado,” Brohl said. “If a person works in Colorado — even for a short time — he or she typically is required to file and pay tax on the income earned here. If a person owns a rental property, Colorado tax is due on the income earned from renting that home.”

The last time Colorado offered tax amnesty was in 2003. At that time, the state revenue department collected a total of $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 Colorado was in 1985. That effort resulted in the collection of $6.4 million. State legislation authorizing the 1985 amnesty also contained 51 new or increased civil and criminal penalties for delinquent taxpayers.

For more information about the latest tax amnesty program, including what types of tax are covered under amnesty, call the Colorado Department of Revenue toll-free telephone hotline at (855) 330-3490 or log on to the Internet Web site located at Tax forms are available online from the Web site at