Bobby Guerra

State Rep. R.D. "Bobby" Guerra filed for re-election on Saturday for House District 41

We all know the old saying that you can’t escape death or taxes. While you might not be able to escape taxes, you at least may be able to avoid the interest and penalties for not filing certain tax reports and paying certain business taxes that you owe.

As a small business person myself, I’ve seen the difficulty in having to make all the required tax filings and payments. Sometimes the loss of a business owner or critical employee can impact your ability to pay taxes. Other times, you just simply haven’t had time to get the proper forms filed.

The biggest problem with not filing tax forms or paying taxes on time is not only do you still owe the money, but you’re now going to have to pay interest and penalties on top of the taxes that you do owe. Many legitimate small businesses have this problem and need some assistance from the government to stop the avalanche of penalties and interest.

When I was elected to the Texas legislature, I went to Austin to solve problems and cut taxes, not to play political games. A number of us, Republicans and Democrats, reached across the aisle and worked together for tax relief. We cut the franchise tax, repealed the unfair inheritance tax, and gave all Texas homeowners an increased exemption on their property taxes.

The state sales tax was another challenge we recognized facing many small businesses. We investigated how we could help small business people get their tax forms filed and get current with their sales and other business taxes. One of the great programs that local governments do to help their citizens is offer an amnesty period. An amnesty period allows those businesses to pay what is owed, or set up a payment plan, and the government agrees to waive interest and penalties.

During the 2017 legislative session, I was proud to vote in favor of creating the Texas Tax Amnesty Program. This program provides an avenue for businesses to become current without having to pay penalties or interest. These businesses may now be allowed to file late reports and pay the amount owed or enter into a payment agreement. The Texas Comptroller has been instructed to establish payment plans for delinquent tax payers to reconcile the taxes they owe to the state by paying over a prescribed period of time.

Please note the amnesty doesn’t apply to all taxes. It does not apply to accounts which have been certified to the Office of the Attorney General, accounts which have been reduced to judgment or are presently in litigation, or audit.

Additionally, the amnesty doesn’t apply to local motor vehicle tax, IFTA taxes, PUC gross receipts assessments or unclaimed property payments.

Finally, you must apply for amnesty on or before June 28, 2018. For more information about this, please contact my office or https://comptroller.texas.gov/ tax-amnesty/.

You cannot escape death or taxes, but at least in Texas now you may be able to escape interest and penalties.

State Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, a Democrat, has represented District 41 since 2012. He currently serves on the House Committees on Public Health, and Energy Resources. He represents the cities of McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Palmhurst, Palmview, Alton and Pharr.

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