CPAs: Short-term Tax Amnesty for Delinquent NJ Taxpayers is a Good Idea

More than 80 percent of the 766 certified public accountants (CPAs) polled this week by the New Jersey Society of CPAs (NJCPA), Roseland, say it is a good idea to grant a short-term tax amnesty of reduced penalties and fees to delinquent New Jersey taxpayers in order to generate revenue that the state may not otherwise collect.

The survey comes in response to a three-month tax amnesty proposal announced last week by New Jersey Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (both D-Middlesex) that seeks to raise revenue for the upcoming budget. Coughlin and Karabinchak’s proposal calls for the program to start July 1 and apply specifically to taxpayers who have unpaid taxes from 2014, 2015 and/or 2016. Taxpayers would be able to pay their overdue bills, including interest, without the additional recovery fees or penalties resulting from the lapse of time.

Respondents to the NJCPA poll, however, were in favor of a longer amnesty period than the three months cited in Coughlin’s and Karabinchak’s proposal, such as six months, and recommended including more years in the timeframe, such as 2012 through 2017 or by simply using all open tax years. They also said to be effective such a tax amnesty should not be offered annually so as to be anticipated, and it should be a one-time allowance for taxpayers.

“Tax relief can come in all shapes and sizes but these results show that CPAs are in favor of options that can both minimize tax burdens on New Jersey residents as well as raise considerable funds for the state,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director at NJCPA.

Historically, tax amnesty programs have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the state. New Jersey offered its last tax amnesty program to taxpayers in 2014.

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