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State

MetLife must pay $2M tax-amnesty fine, court rules

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. must pay a $2 million tax penalty imposed by a 2003 amnesty program even though it didn't know it owed extra taxes at the time.

Justices decreed Thursday that MetLife must forfeit the enhanced penalty even though an audit showing it underpaid its 1998 and 1999 taxes wasn't completed until 2004 – after the amnesty.

The Illinois Department of Revenue ran the amnesty for six weeks in fall 2003. Taxes owed since 1983 could be paid without penalty. The penalty doubled to 200 percent after that.

The court ruled MetLife should have made a good-faith estimate of what it would owe after the audit and paid during the amnesty.

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