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Archive for Saturday, December 13, 2003

Tax amnesty program exceeds expectations

State Revenue Department collects $23.6M

December 13, 2003

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— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Friday that a tax amnesty's second round netted more than projected, collecting $23.6 million in unpaid taxes.

That surpassed the goal of $19.5 million, and the total could go even higher, Sebelius said during a Statehouse news conference. The program, which ran from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, allowed individuals and corporations to settle tax bills without paying penalty and interest.

Sebelius and Revenue Secretary Joan Wagnon said another 2,000 amnesty applications have yet to be processed, with $9 million in payments still pending. That means the total from the amnesty program could grow to more than $30 million.

"They came in like Christmas," Wagnon said.

In approving the amnesty, Wagnon said, the state waived $13 million in penalty and interest owed.

She said 32 percent of the amnesty total was from individual taxes, 30 percent from corporate taxes and 25 percent from sales taxes.

Much of the sales tax collections were passed through to local units of government, Sebelius said.

Kansas collected $23.5 million in tax amnesty from Feb. 9 through June 30, exceeding an estimate of $12.5 million. Legislators approved the second round during the 2003 session, as they sought new revenue sources to fund the state's $10 billion budget. The idea was first presented by members of Sebelius' advisory teams, who sought ways to reduce government spending and increase revenue.

Sebelius said the revenue collected above the estimate would be put back into general government programs. She and her staff are working on budget recommendations for fiscal year 2005, which begins July 1. She plans to present a proposed budget to the Legislature on Jan. 12.

Additional savings are expected in the coming months, the governor said, with a previously announced sale of surplus state vehicles. The first sales will be to nonprofit organizations and local units of government.

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