The House Ways and Means Committee has recommended full House passage of a Senate-amended bill providing tax amnesty until Jan. 1, 2014. If the House passes the bill and is signed into law this month, it gives eligible taxpayers barely two months to avail of the tax amnesty.
The panel approved passage of the bill in its current form, inclusive of a Senate amendment that exempts from the new round of tax amnesty those businesses that already availed of two previous tax amnesties under Public Laws 12-51 or 14-28.
Once the committee report is adopted, it could be acted on in the next House session.
Since Rep. Tony Sablan (Ind-Saipan) introduced House Bill 18-28, it has gone through amendments including one that extends the tax amnesty from the original proposal of up to Jan. 1, 2017, to only up to Jan. 1, 2014.
Sablan’s bill provides amnesty for the filing of delinquent tax returns, to encourage persons and entities to come into compliance with tax laws, and help generate revenues from taxes that could not otherwise be collected.
The bill’s proponents said a tax amnesty program is the “most cost-effective” way for the government to collect tax revenue during difficult economic times and one that is “better than writing off” debts to the government.
If this bill becomes law, this would only be the third time that the CNMI government will provide a tax amnesty. They were done in 2001 and 2005.
Under a tax amnesty program, penalties and interests on unpaid or unreported taxes are waived. However, they still have to pay the original tax liabilities. It allows taxpayers to voluntarily come forward and take action to comply with tax laws.