New Hampshire Lowers Tax Rates, Creates Amnesty and Voluntary Disclosure Programs
After lengthy negotiations between legislators and Governor Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire enacted significant tax changes, including a cut to business tax rates, an increase in the research and development tax credit, and the establishment of a tax amnesty period and a voluntary disclosure program.
- Tax Rate Cuts: The business profits tax (BPT) rate will be reduced to 8.2 percent (from 8.5 percent) and the business enterprise tax (BET) will be reduced to 0.72 percent (from 0.75 percent), for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2016. Provided that certain revenue targets are met, the BPT rate will be lowered to 7.9 percent and the BET will be lowered to 0.675 percent for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2018.
- Tax Amnesty: From December 1, 2015, through February 15, 2016, taxpayers will be given amnesty from all penalties and 50 percent of all interest due with respect to unpaid taxes reported and paid in full during the period. To incentivize taxpayers to come forward, after the amnesty period ends the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) is prohibited from waiving, abating, or reducing any penalties with respect to taxes due before December 1, 2015. The amnesty applies to all taxes collected by the DRA.
- Voluntary Disclosure: The law allows the DRA to establish a voluntary disclosure program whereby a taxpayer may self-disclose a tax liability to the DRA in exchange for the DRA waiving penalties and the parties enter into a voluntary disclosure agreement. A number of categories of taxpayers are ineligible for the program, including taxpayers who have been contacted by the DRA, taxpayers which have previously filed returns with respect to the specific tax (except where good cause is shown), and taxpayers who collected but failed to remit tax. The DRA is expected to establish regulations regarding the program.
- R&D Tax Credit: The annual cap on research and development tax credits that can be issued by the DRA has been raised to $7 million, from just $2 million.
- Multistate Tax Commission Audits: The law also allows the DRA to contract with the Multistate Tax Commission to participate in audits conducted by the Commission on behalf of its member states.
If you have any questions about this legislation, or any other state and local tax issues, please contact Jon Block or Kris Eimicke, the authors of this alert, or any member of Pierce Atwood’s State and Local Tax Practice Group.