COLUMBUS (WCMH) — For a limited time only, Ohio is giving late taxpayers a break. For the first time in more than five years the state is offering tax amnesty, in which the government will essentially look the other way on unreported or underreported tax debts.

Lawmakers approved the deal last year, tax experts say while it gives taxpayers a deal, and makes money for the state.

Tax amnesty runs from runs from January 1-February 15, 2018.

“We want people to just come current and then move forward,” said Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa.

People and businesses who have not paid their taxes properly and who qualify will pay no penalty on the tax owed, and only half the interest.

“If it goes on for years and years that interest calculation can be significant,” Testa said.

The deal only applies to tax debts that are unknown to the state. Tax experts say it gives delinquent taxpayers a chance to make good on the debt while getting deal, and at the same time saves the state money in the long run.

“The state of Ohio saves money because they don’t have to spend the money tracking some of these people down,” said Rae Hederman with the Buckeye Institute in Columbus.

During the last tax amnesty in 2012 the state raised more than $20 million dollars. According to Hederman, many late payers were honest mistakes.

“Ohio, unfortunately has one of the most confusing tax codes in the nation, so people trying to do the right thing, make honest mistakes,” Hederman said.

Ohio residents only have a limited window to come forward under the deal. Tax Commissioner Testa advises delinquent payers to do so now, or pay the price.

“Chances are you are eventually going to pop-up on a computer screen at some point in time,” Testa added.

Tax amnesty runs until February 15th, you can find out more at www.OhioTaxAmnesty.Gov