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State's tax amenesty program begins

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BATON ROUGE- An amnesty program for those behind on their taxes begins today in Louisiana.

The program offers taxpayers a chance to catch up without all the penalties. According to the Department of Revenue more than 440,000 people are behind on paying state taxes, which equals about $1.4 billion dollars in money owed to the state.

Delinquent taxpayers will have to pay all the taxes and half of the interest owed.

The legislature approved the two month long amnesty period in hopes of generating $200 million dollars for the state budget, which would help avoid deep cuts in healthcare programs.

Revenue officials said this could be the last chance for some people who've skated by for years without paying taxes. Those who continue to avoid clearing their debt could have money seized from their bank account by the state, or have their driver's license or occupational license suspended.

"If you are late on taxes and you haven't caught up, we will have better enforcement tools beginning in January. So we'll have a new federal state tax match and offset program that will be put in place," said Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield.

The department says it hopes taxpayers use its website to make the process go smoothly. Delinquent taxpayers have until Nov. 22 to clear their debts to the state.



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