The people behind the program hope to raise $190 million to help balance the state's budget. They feel that figure is realistic because it is estimated that the State is currently owed more than $2 billion in back taxes.
According to Governor Ed Rendell, 97% of the businesses and individuals who owe Pennsylvania taxes pay them in full and on time. But that missing 3% adds up.
More than 62% of the back taxes are owed by businesses. They including state corporation taxes, employer withholding and state sales taxes.
Unpaid personal income taxes account for 33% of the total.
That's why the state has opened up a 54 day long tax amnesty period. Notices were mailed last week to more than one million delinquent taxpayers know to the Pennsylvania department of revenue. Under this tax amnesty program, individuals and companies who pay what they owe by June 18 will have to pay only half of the interest they would ordinarily be charged and all penalties for failing to pay their taxes on time will be waived.
Those incentives are designed to get people to pay up voluntarily.
There is a special benefit under the program for people who have flown under the tax radar and are completely unknown to state officials. They will only have to pay taxes and interest going back five years if they turn themselves in. But Governor Rendell did point out that failing to apply for this amnesty program will mean an additional 55 tax penalty will be added on for anyone who does not pay what they owe by the end of the program June 18th.