For the first time in over 20 years, the state of Iowa would offer temporary amnesty to Iowans who’ve failed to pay their tax bills if a bill approved by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee becomes law. Governor Culver proposed the bill, which would allow those who owe income taxes to the state or a long list of other taxes to pay up without a penalty and with only half the interest otherwise due.
Representative Doris Kelley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says "tax amnesty" could bring in millions to state coffers. "We’re looking at about 53-million dollars total," Kelley says. "Sixteen million would be new money." That means taxes that state officials currently have no idea are unpaid. But Kelley says not everyone would be eligible to participate.
No one involved in a court case or who’s under investigation for cheating the state out of taxes would be allowed to seek the "tax amnesty." Republicans say the state should not be helping out tax cheats in a year when cigarette taxes are going up. And they object to setting aside seven-hundred-thousand dollars for the Department of Revenue to get the word out about the tax amnesty period.