Tax office offering deal for scofflaws


POSTED: Saturday, May 30, 2009

State officials are offering a new program to some Hawaii residents and businesses that could reduce their interest payment on back taxes.

The “;Tax Fresh Start Program”; applies to taxpayers owing money on or before Dec. 31, 2007, who failed to file a return or underreported the due amount.

Officials said qualified taxpayers are being offered a 50 percent reduction in interest to 4 percent from 8 percent and an opportunity to avoid penalties and potential criminal prosecution.

The program covers all taxes administered by the state Department of Taxation, including the general excise tax, use tax, income tax and transient accommodation tax.

Officials said taxpayers already in a payment plan are ineligible for the new program but could qualify for new disclosures of underreported moneys.

Taxpayers subject to an audit, criminal investigation, civil or criminal litigation pending as of May 27, 2009, or those who have been contacted by the state about a tax return also do not qualify.

Payment plans are not available under the program, and participants are expected to make full payments for the taxable periods.

Taxpayers should also be aware that payment under the program constitutes a relinquishment of any and all administration and judicial rights of appeal, officials said.

Information about the program can be obtained by visiting hawaii.gov/tax or calling the nearest tax office, including Oahu, 587-9200; Maui, 984-8511; Hilo, 974-6321; Kona, 323-4597; and Kauai, 274-3456.

Hearing-impaired users only can transmit inquiries by calling 587-1418 on Oahu or (800) 887-8974 for neighbor islands.

State tax officials have a Web site listing questions and answers about the program at www.state.hi.us/tax.