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Tacoma Offers Businesses A One-Time Amnesty Program To Settle Unpaid Tax Bills

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The city of Tacoma is trying to get business owners to settle their unpaid tax bills by offering a one-time amnesty that will let businesses off the hook for penalties and interest if they come forward and pay. 

Danielle Larson, tax and license manager for the city of Tacoma, says the city’s recently boosted enforcement of tax collections by adding three compliance officers. But she says the city council also wanted to give businesses a chance to come forward voluntarily and pay their liabilities without penalties.

The amnesty program covers everything from local business and occupation taxes to annual business license fees to private utility taxes.

"After the recession hit, there’s a lot of choices businesses had to make and some of those choices I think could be that they didn’t pay their tax or license fees, so this just gives them an opportunity to come into compliance," Larson said.

The application period runs for the month of June and taxes have to be paid by the end of July. The program will also waive 50 percent of civil penalties, except for ones that have already been sent to a collection agency.

In 2011, the state department of revenue offered a business tax amnesty and pulled in almost $350 million.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.