Legislature enacts lower rates, higher penalties

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By The Staff

Effective Jan. 1, the interest rate charged on all outstanding tax debt was reduced from 15 percent per year to the annual rate established each quarter by the IRS. Over the last several years, the rate they have charged has been much lower than 15 percent (the current New Mexico rate) and is currently at 8 percent. Interest will continue to accrue on unpaid taxes daily using the annual rate. Also, effective Jan. 1, the maximum penalty charged increased from 10 percent to 20 percent of tax due but not paid. Penalty accrues at 2 percent per month on unpaid taxes. What this means is for taxes owed to the Taxation and Revenue Department, interest were charged at the 15- percent interest rate up through Dec. 31, 2007. After that date, the interest rate lowered and the maximum penalty is higher on any taxes or fees owed.The tax office charges penalty and interest only on outstanding tax liabilities; they do not charge penalty and interest on penalty and interest.Individuals are encouraged to pay their outstanding tax liability to avoid additional interest and penalty charges.  Although interest due is now lower, the penalty paid on taxes owed after that date will increase.

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