RI offers amnesty to people who owe back taxes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island expects to collect millions by offering tax amnesty to people who owe back taxes.

Neena Savage, the R.I. tax administrator, said tax liabilities total approximately $112 million.

Through the state’s tax amnesty program, R.I. will reduce the current interest owed by 25% and will waive civil and criminal penalties for taxpayers who pay their overdue taxes.

“This is a great opportunity for them to come forward, pay all of their tax, some of their interest, and get their penalties wiped away,” Savage said. “We know there are people out there who simply can’t pay and we’re trying to give them a break and we think this is a good deal.”

Without tax amnesty, consequences are serious for people who haven’t paid their taxes.

“You could get your professional license blocked, there are liens, there are criminal penalties if you don’t file, and tax evasion is a crime,” Savage explained.

What you need to know to if you plan to participate in R.I. tax amnesty:

  • File a tax amnesty return
  • File all outstanding tax returns
  • Make payments, in full, between Dec. 1, 2017 and Feb. 15, 2018

The last time R.I. offered tax amnesty was in 2012, when the state collected $22 million. Savage said the Division of Taxation budgeted $12.5 million to be collected though this year’s tax amnesty program.

“At the last tax amnesty, there were roughly about 7,000 participants,” Savage said. “We anticipate at least that many.”

The R.I. Division of Taxation can be reached via email or at 401-574-8650 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on business days.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.