Pennsylvania Launches Big-Brotherish Tax Amnesty Ad Campaign

May 3, 2010

From April 26, 2010 to June 18, 2010, delinquent Pennsylvania taxpayers can pay their back taxes and get all penalties and half of owed interest waived. Tax amnesties like this are popular in many states right now, as a way to get cash in the door.

Frequent amnesties, however, undermine compliance with the law; why be an honest taxpayer when the penalties will get thrown out eventually? If tax law is so complicated we have to waive people out of it, maybe it should be fixed for good. (Pennsylvania’s last amnesty was 1995-96. The state swears that people who participate in this amnesty will not be eligible to participate in future amnesties.) Further, evaders caught after the amnesty will be assessed an additional 5% non-participation penalty, whether or not they knew about it.

So Pennsylvania is doing their best to make sure people know about it, running ads with veiled threats and government surveillance themes, with the taglines “Yes, we know who you are” and “Find us before we find you.” A video ad:

Here’s a print ad from the campaign:

The full campaign page here.

More on Pennsylvania here.

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