These programs are typically only open for 8 to 10 weeks (LA, Louisiana and Connecticut’s essentially end in November 2013, and Vermont’s ends by May 1, 2014). These programs typically provide waiver of all penalties and some interest, and a taxpayer must qualify for the program. Qualification typically means that you cannot be under audit, legal proceedings, or have been contacted by the state for the taxes for which you seek amnesty.
For taxpayers sitting on exposure, and those unaware of their exposure (i.e., they have not reviewed their compliance processes and “don’t know what they don’t know”), these programs provide an excellent opportunity to clean up the past and begin 2014 with an enhanced compliance process. However, they are not the only approach – taxpayers can voluntarily come forward through a representative and anonymously disclose historical liabilities at any time with no risk and the reward of limited look back periods and the abatement of penalties. Taxpayers should consult their sales tax expert for guidance on these options.