New Jersey on Thursday launched the state's 2018 tax amnesty program to provide individuals and businesses with the opportunity to pay back taxes or file past returns with no penalties and reduced interest.

The tax amnesty program runs from Thursday through Jan. 15.

Signed into law in July, the New Jersey Division of Revenue's Tax Amnesty program applies to outstanding state tax filings or payments that are due on or after Feb. 1, 2009, and prior to Sept. 1, 2017.

Benefits to Tax Amnesty include waived penalties, such as late-filing and late-payment fees, and one half of the balance of interest due as of Nov. 1.

"We are pleased to offer taxpayers a chance at compliance and a fresh start through the New Jersey Tax Amnesty program," said John Ficara, acting director of the Division of Taxation, in a news release.

"Since tax amnesty is offered for a limited time, we're encouraging taxpayers to take advantage of the program before the Jan. 15 deadline or risk incurring greater penalties," he added.

Taxpayers who do not take advantage of amnesty by the 11:59 p.m. Jan. 15 deadline will incur a 5 percent penalty that cannot be waived — in addition to all other penalties, interest, and other costs.

The Division of Taxation recently mailed a letter to all taxpayers who are known to have amnesty-eligible deficient and/or delinquent accounts.

For more information, New Jersey taxpayers or their representatives may contact taxation representatives by phone at: 1-800-781-8407, Mon.-Thurs. from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Alternatively, you can visit the website: www.TaxAmnesty.nj.gov.

All amnesty tax payments must be filed electronically. In order for a tax to be eligible for New Jersey tax amnesty, it must be administered and collected by the New Jersey Division of Taxation. This excludes taxes such as local property taxes and payroll taxes owed to the New Jersey Department of Labor.