Multistate Voluntary Disclosure Program

Overview of Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure Process


Please view the links below for more information regarding the Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure Program:


Purpose

The Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure Program (“MVDP”) provides a taxpayer with potential tax liability in multiple states (including the District of Columbia) a means to negotiate possible settlement of such liability using a uniform procedure coordinated through the National Nexus Program (“NNP”) staff of the Multistate Tax Commission (“Commission”).

General Terms

The Commission offers this service to encourage taxpayers to commence filing and paying taxes in states in which they may have substantial nexus (connection between the taxpayer and the state arising from the taxpayer’s activities in that state subjecting the taxpayer to the state’s taxing authority) by providing a process for achieving tax compliance in those states.  

A taxpayer with potential tax exposure in more than one state will find this service to be faster, more efficient, and less costly than approaching each state separately.  There is no charge to the taxpayer for participation in the MVDP.

A state’s sales/use tax and income/franchise tax (including the Hawaii GET and Washington B&O tax) are the tax types generally subject to a voluntary disclosure agreement.  Prior contact between a state and the taxpayer concerning a tax type disqualifies the taxpayer from participation in voluntary disclosure for that tax type.  “Contact” includes filing a tax return, paying tax, or receiving an inquiry from the state regarding the tax type.  See Procedures of Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure .

After the state and taxpayer have entered into a voluntary disclosure agreement, the state will expect the taxpayer to continue to file returns and remit taxes in the future.  

Lookback Period

The “Lookback Period” is the time period established by the applicable state statute of limitations and for which the taxpayer making voluntary disclosure will file returns and pay taxes owed to the state, plus interest, and for which the state will waive penalties. Three to four years is common for this time period. 

“Prior to the Lookback Period” is the time period for which the state agrees to waive all tax, interest and penalties against the taxpayer.

Minimum Tax Liability for Voluntary Disclosure

NNP staff do not process voluntary disclosure applications when the good-faith estimate of tax due to a state for the Lookback Period is less than $500.  Taxpayers with minimal tax liability should pay such liability upon filing an initial return.

Confidentiality Protection

Confidentiality rules are addressed in Procedures of Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure  .  The Commission treats as confidential the applicant’s identity during the voluntary disclosure process.  The Commission will disclose an applicant’s identity only to a state with which the applicant has entered into a voluntary disclosure agreement.  Until such agreement is signed, an applicant is known to that state only by its voluntary disclosure Case Number assigned by NNP staff.  The Commission does not disclose the existence or terms of a voluntary disclosure agreement to any other state, including those that may have pending or signed agreements with the applicant.  An applicant need not disclose any information that would reveal its identity.  In the event of accidental disclosure, the Procedures of Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure   prohibits the Commission and member states in the NNP from using such information (see section 7).

Secure e-mail is available when sending confidential taxpayer information. 

Procedures

1.  

The taxpayer (or representative) prepares an  application online and submits it to NNP staff via a secure internet connection on the Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure section of the Commission’s website.  Please be advised that if the applicant has difficulty in submitting the online application, then alternatively, a PDF version  of the application form is available for electronic submission to NNP staff.

2.  

The application form requires contact information for the person completing and submitting the application for the taxpayer.  If this person is a representative of the taxpayer, NNP staff may disclose this information to the state before a voluntary disclosure agreement is entered into, unless instructed otherwise by the taxpayer.  However, if disclosure of such person’s information would also disclose the identity of the taxpayer, NNP staff will not disclose such information to anyone except 1) to the state after a voluntary disclosure agreement has been entered into, 2) with the taxpayer’s permission, or 3) pursuant to a proper court order.

3.  

The application form also requires information that will be necessary to prepare a voluntary disclosure agreement, such as:

    

a.   the applicant’s tax year;

   

b.   states (including District of Columbia) to receive voluntary disclosure proposals;  

   

c.   description of the applicant’s activities in the state;

   
d.   best estimate of the amount of tax due per tax type and tax year for the Lookback Period.
 
4.    

NNP staff receive the application and prepare a draft voluntary disclosure agreement for review by the applicant.

5.    

The taxpayer may approve the draft voluntary disclosure agreement, and if approved, returns it to the NNP staff.  

6.    

When the taxpayer provides written approval of the draft voluntary disclosure agreement, NNP staff send it to the state as the taxpayer’s offer of voluntary disclosure, along with the application (redacted of taxpayer identifying information).  The application and the draft voluntary disclosure agreement contain the taxpayer’s factual statement supporting eligibility for voluntary disclosure.  The taxpayer may withdraw or revise an application or submit additional applications prior to execution of a voluntary disclosure agreement with the state.

7.  

The state should respond by signing the voluntary disclosure agreement and returning it to NNP staff.  That document becomes the state’s offer to the taxpayer, who is still identified only by Case Number.  NNP staff forward the document to the taxpayer for signature.  The state may counter-offer by returning the draft voluntary disclosure agreement unsigned with a request for revisions.  NNP staff can arrange teleconferences to facilitate communications and help the parties come to agreement, if necessary.

8.  

If the taxpayer signs the voluntary disclosure agreement and returns it to NNP staff, then it is considered executed by both parties.  The taxpayer returns the signed voluntary disclosure agreement to NNP staff, together with registration and tax returns, the tax payment, and any additional required information.  NNP staff then forward these documents on to the state, completing the voluntary disclosure process.  The state may bill the taxpayer for additional interest, if applicable.

Participating States

The National Nexus Program serves only states that are members of the program.  Please click here for a list of National Nexus Program Members.   

 

More Information

A few states in the NNP require additional procedures.  NNP staff can explain those more fully, if applicable.  The Procedures of Multi-state Voluntary Disclosure , govern the NNP staff and member states during the process.  For further information, please contact:

Richard Cram
Director, National Nexus Program
Multistate Tax Commission
444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 425
Washington, DC 20001-1538
Telephone: 202-695-8140
Email: nexus@mtc.gov