THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

Michigan Amnesty ends June 30

Jerry Coon

Last week, seven of my closest friends and I went on our annual pilgrimage to northern Ontario, Canada to fish for walleyes, pike, perch and trout. It was somewhat of an odd-weather trip. It rained all the way up north on Saturday, the 11th, but not one drop from Sunday through Saturday, the 18th. It was in the 70s each day and got down into the 40s at night. The sun wasn’t overly bright. The wind wasn’t overly strong. Those are almost perfect fishing conditions. The mosquitoes were manageable without bug spray. The black flies were practically nonexistent. In fact, this is the first time that I put sunblock on more times than I put bug spray on. Oh yeah, the fish were biting, too.

We brought back our limit of four walleyes, and ate walleyes four times during the week. We caught and brought back about 30 perch per person, two to-be-mounted rainbow trout, and a few pike for good measure.

Except for the fish part, it almost sounds like we didn’t go to Canada. Black fly bites are synonymous with camping in Canada. It always rains in Canada at least one day that keeps us from fishing. The wind always blows so strongly at least one day that keeps us from crossing the lake. We have to cross the lake, of course, because, as always, the best fishing is on the other side of the lake. It’s always where all of the fish are located. Unlike the chicken crossing the road, at least we have a perfectly good reason to cross the lake.

I have been going to Canada with most of these fellows since the 1970s, and this was one of the best trips of the batch. Unless the world ends before June 2012, I would bet we will make that 12-hour trek back to Ontario again next year.

It looks like the world isn’t going to end before the end of this month either, so June 30 signals the end of Michigan Amnesty.

If a taxpayer has a situation where there are penalties due to the State of Michigan for any reason, June 30 will be the last day to get those penalties abated. Michigan is still running some cute advertisements on television and radio stating that any reason under the sun will be allowed. Dog ate the taxpayer’s records? That’s a good reason. A kangaroo broke down the door, hopped in and put the records in its pouch and took off? That’s a good reason. The Geico gecko took the records for use in a television commercial? That’s a good reason. A person in a parasail swooped down and took the records as the taxpayer was walking to his tax appointment? That’s a good reason.

Michigan is serious in stating that any reason is good enough. Examples of situations where the penalties will be abated include: the delinquent payment of past due taxes, the failure to file a Michigan tax return, underreported tax liabilities, and penalties associated with overstated deductions, credits and deductions.

If the taxpayer has multiple years or periods with taxes, interest and penalties due, the taxpayer can pick and choose which period(s) to apply for Amnesty. They don’t have to apply for all periods, but the ones they do apply for must be complete.

Michigan is also serious when they say that the end of amnesty occurs on June 30. All taxes must be paid and all interest must be paid. There is an online calculator for the interest, and it’s recommended that taxpayers use that calculator to make sure enough interest is paid. According to the statute as written, 100% of the interest must be paid, the whole transaction will be voided, and amnesty for the penalty will not be granted.

Amnesty information can be accessed at or by calling 1-855-466-4829. File Form 3855 along with a check, cash or money order for all applicable taxes and interest by June 30. Sorry, but credit card payments are not allowed. Mail the packet to: Michigan Department of Treasury, Tax Amnesty, PO Box 30710, Lansing MI 48909.

If taxpayers have any questions, qualified tax professionals, like Action Tax Service, can be contacted and will help to answer those questions. But do remember that the packet must be in the mail on or before June 30 to qualify for Amnesty. This is Jerry Coon signing off.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns Action Tax Service in Rockford. Contact Jerry at


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