Schuitmaker encourages residents to take advantage of upcoming tax amnesty period

LANSING―Kalamazoo area residents who owe back taxes to the state will be able to pay them without penalty during an upcoming tax amnesty period, said state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

The tax amnesty program will be available to eligible taxpayers between May 15, 2011 and June 30, 2011 and will be administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury. The department is currently developing forms, instructions, frequently asked questions, and other information that useful to taxpayers, which the department said will be made available at

“This is an excellent opportunity for residents who owe back taxes to pay up without facing the penalties that they would ordinarily incur,” said Schuitmaker, a Lawton Republican. “This is a benefit to taxpayers and to Michigan as a whole, and I encourage all those who are eligible to participate.”

Key points of the tax amnesty program are:

  • All penalties will be waived, but interest charges will not be waived;
  • Payment of the total amount owed (no installment agreements), including interest, must be postmarked by midnight on June 30, 2011 in order to qualify for amnesty;
  • All state taxes administered under the Revenue Act (PA 122 of 1941) are eligible for amnesty including, Income Tax, Michigan Business Tax, Single Business Tax, Sales and Use Tax, Withholding Tax, Tobacco Taxes, and Motor Fuel Taxes; and
  • Only taxes for return periods ending on or before December 31, 2009 are eligible.

Schuitmaker also reminded residents about the department's unclaimed property database.

“Recent legislation revised the period to claim property from five years to three years before it is transferred to the state permanently,” Schuitmaker said. “If residents think they might have unclaimed property, I would encourage them to check the Department of Treasury's website as soon as possible.”

The state Department of Treasury has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten assets from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, valuables left in safe deposit boxes and stock certificates. Because these properties were considered abandoned and unclaimed by the bank or company entrusted with them, they are turned over to the state, as required by law. The department is the custodian of these assets and returns them to their owners (or the owners' heirs) when they are rightfully claimed.

For more information about this and other issues, visit the lawmaker's website at