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Owe back taxes? Last chance to pay without penalty

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If you owe the state past due taxes, the deadline for paying up without a fine or interest is this coming Friday.

The tax amnesty program was aimed at helping the state's budget shortfall, and it worked better than expected.

Lawmakers approved the plan last session.

The hope was to collect 35 million in back taxes.

Now, they’ve taken in more than double that at more than 99 million.

Officials said both the state and residents benefit.

Paula Ross with the tax commission said she talked to one stressed taxpayer looking for help.

“She had like $20,000, and her tax was like $4,000," Ross said. "She'd been worried about it for years."

That caller ended up taking part the Pay Right Oklahoma program, which gives taxpayers a chance to file past due state tax returns and pay what they owe without any additional costs.

“We find that a lot of people just procrastinate, and then they worry about it, and they don’t know what to do,” she said.

The program not only covers individual income taxes; business owners can also benefit.

“If you had a business that maybe you closed and were a little bit behind or you've got behind on some of your payments, that's an opportunity,” Ross said.

Other eligible taxes include:

  • Corporate income tax
  • Sales tax
  • Withholding tax
  • Mixed beverage tax
  • Gas and diesel tax
  • And, privilege tax

While the state collects about $3.8 billion a year in various taxes, getting extra millions from procrastinators helps the state pay its own bills.

“Most people aren't trying to be crooked," Ross said. " They just get behind. They are young, and they don't do it. They get sick, and then they don't do it a year and then a few years."

There's even an option for those who can't pay in full.

All you need is a down payment equal to 1/6th of your debt.

For example, if you owe $600, pay $100 down, and then the rest over the next five months.

Officials said there will not be a last minute extension to this program.

But, you can still save by getting into the office by Friday or taking care of this on the phone or online.

The tax commission office is closed Wednesday for Veterans Day, but there will be a phone-line dedicated to Pay Right available on Wednesday.

The office is open until 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:00 p.m. Friday.