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Voluntary Disclosure Program

The Department of Taxation has a program to encourage taxpayers who are not properly registered and who have unreported tax liabilities to come forward voluntarily and "catch up" on their tax responsibilities. This is an on-going program and is not related to any tax amnesty program.

Who is eligible?

The typical candidate is an out-of-state business that has enough activity in Virginia to establish nexus for sales and use tax and/or income tax, but has not yet registered with the Department or filed returns. To be eligible for the Voluntary Disclosure program, a business must not already be the subject of any compliance inquiry from the Department. Of course, in-state businesses may be eligible as well. Other situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Who is not eligible?

A taxpayer is probably not eligible for the program if:

  • The taxpayer is under audit by the Department,
  • The taxpayer is already registered for the tax type in question, or
  • The taxpayer has received bills, nonfiler notices or any inquiries about a potential tax liability

The program is usually not appropriate for a taxpayer with just a delinquent individual income tax return unrelated to a business. (These taxpayers may, however, seek penalty waiver or other relief through other channels, such as a regular offer-in-compromise.)

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What are the terms of a voluntary disclosure agreement?

A typical agreement requires that the business:

  • Register with the Department
  • Commit to future compliance
  • Perform a self-audit for a three-year look-back period, and
  • Pay the tax and interest due for the look-back period

In exchange, the Department may waive some or all late penalties for the look-back period and waive older periods entirely. When sales tax has been collected but not properly remitted, the required look-back period may be longer and penalty waiver more limited. Terms, including the exact look-back period, may vary depending on the facts of each case.

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What is the procedure?

A voluntary disclosure case begins when a taxpayer submits a written proposal or offer to the Department. The offer may be submitted by a third-party representative, and the taxpayer may remain anonymous while terms are negotiated. The Department evaluates the offer, and if willing to proceed provides a formal agreement document that specifies the acceptable terms. The taxpayer is then asked to sign the agreement within 30 days, and to report and pay its past due tax within 60 days. The taxpayer must be identified before the Department will give final approval to an agreement. 

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Are tax returns for past periods required?

For income tax, complete returns are required. For sales and use tax, a spreadsheet is usually preferred.

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For more information

write to:

Virginia Department of Taxation
Voluntary Disclosure Program
P. O. Box 5640
Richmond, VA 23220

or call: (804) 225-3560 

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Last Updated 7/18/2012 10:54

 

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