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Massachusetts swamped by taxpayers in amnesty

Tuesday was the last day to pay back taxes without penalty in Massachusetts, and state officials predicted that a last-minute scramble by thousands of evaders to meet the midnight deadline would push the total collected to a record

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''This has escalated into a crescendo bordering into bedlam right now,'' state Revenue Commissioner Ira Jackson said Monday as 1,200 people lined up outside the state tax department headquarters.

The three-month amnesty program started Oct. 7 to try to collect some of the estimated $500 million a year lost in unpaid state taxes. Mr. Jackson said the program is not likely to be offered again.

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