Coronavirus Outbreak

More States Push Deadlines, Some Worry of Fiscal Pressure (4)

March 25, 2020, 5:44 PM; Updated: March 25, 2020, 11:46 PM

Oregon, Illinois, and West Virginia on Wednesday extended their tax deadlines by 90 days to July 15, in-line with the Internal Revenue Service’s own shift, while Ohio took a step in that direction. In New York City, meanwhile, some political leaders called for relief for property owners. Here’s the latest on shifting state tax guidelines, deadlines, and policy to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic. For Tuesday’s coverage click here. Here’s a state-by-state roadmap.

Oregon is delaying the filing and payment deadline for state personal and corporate income taxes to July 15 to mirror the federal deadline in response to the coronavirus situation at the direction of Gov. Kate Brown (D).

The new deadline for personal income taxpayers to file and pay is extended from April 15 to July 15, but estimated payment deadlines for 2020 are not extended, the Department of Revenue said.

For corporate income or excise taxpayers, the return filing and payment deadline of May 15 is also extended to July 15. Deadlines for returns due after May 15 and estimated payment deadlines aren’t extended.

The extended deadlines are automatic, and taxpayers don’t need to file or call to request them, the Oregon agency said. Penalties and interest won’t apply until July 16. The extensions don’t apply to other types of Oregon tax or filing of Oregon information returns.

Illinois in Line with IRS Deadline

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said Wednesday that the filing deadline for state income tax purposes has been shifted to conform with the new federal deadline.

“Illinois will delay our tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, aligning our tax day with the federal government’s and giving our millions of taxpayers three additional months to file their individual returns,” Pritzker said, adding that refunds would “continue to be distributed in a timely fashion.”

Illinois already has an $8 billion backlog of unpaid bills, and it will face additional fiscal pressures from the extended payment deadline, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza conceded.

“Postponing the state tax filing deadline will be a challenge to the state and our office’s cash-management duties, but it is a responsibility we are prepared to meet,” Mendoza said in a statement.

NYC Council Leaders Seek Delay in Tax Lien Sale

The New York City Finance Department should postpone its annual tax lien sale to allow more time for property owners struggling with the impact of the pandemic to resolve their debts, City Council leaders said Wednesday.

Debtors have until May 14 to pay overdue city property tax or water and sewer charges, or enter into a payment agreement plan, if they are to avoid the tax lien sale. They’ve already been sent 60-day warning notices. The department sells off the debt to authorized buyers, which hire collection agencies to pursue repayment at high interest rates.

Working out debt resolution issues requires outreach and in-person contact, which isn’t fully feasible when the city is requiring people to stay at home, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D) and Finance Committee Chair Daniel Dromm (D) said in a letter to the city tax commissioner, Jacques Jiha.

The city lawmakers urged the department to follow other governments and collection entities in offering short-term, immediate relief to debtors, saying: “Now is not the time for enforcement action.”

The city needs revenue, but “the tax lien sale should not be conducted at a time when NYC families are struggling because of lost wages, sick family members and the many other hardships brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” Dromm said in a statement.

A department spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

California Cautious on Conformity

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is wary of conforming to tax changes in the federal pandemic relief package as his office begins analyzing the impact the measures will have on the state budget.

Newsom said Wednesday at a news conference that he is looking at the tax changes as part of overall federal support for California. He said the federal package, especially the unemployment benefits, wasn’t enough.

“We will have to look through this very thoughtfully and process each and every example,” Newsom said. “Committing to conformity across the board is not something at the moment any governor, humbly I submit, should do. And I certainly won’t until we get those facts.”

California is one of several states that doesn’t automatically adopt federal tax changes. It is up to Newsom and state lawmakers to decide whether to give federal relief items—involving 401(k) distributions, charitable contributions, employer payments on student loans, net operating losses and even a tax waiver for making hand sanitizer—the same tax treatment at the state level.

Newsom let lawmakers know Tuesday that he was scrapping his budget plan for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. He wants to carry over the current year plan without major changes, while he and lawmakers sort through the overall impact the pandemic will have on the state budget.

Texas Offering Assistance

The Texas Comptroller’s Office reminded Texas businesses on Wednesday that help is available for those “struggling to pay the full amount” of collected February sales taxes because of economic hardship posed by the pandemic.

“For businesses that find themselves in this situation, our agency is offering assistance in the form of short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest,” the Comptroller’s Office said in an email that also encouraged taxpayers to visit the agency’s Covid-19 emergency response website.

Montana Minimizing Face-to-Face Contact

The Montana Department of Revenue is taking immediate steps to protect the public by restricting taxpayers’ contact with personnel in field offices.

The department has urged property owners and others to call their local offices with questions or to set up appointments for in-person conversations. If such meetings are deemed to be necessary, department staff will “keep the discussion brief” while maintaining a safe environment.

The department is also enabling more staff to work from home and limiting field visits by property appraisers, who will avoid direct contact with property owners and not enter occupied properties, the department said.

Gov. Steve Bullock (D) last week announced that Montana’s filing and payment deadline for individual income taxes had been postponed to July 15 from April 15.

The department’s Collections Bureau has said it will work with Montana taxpayers facing disruption and uncertainty related to the pandemic. For taxpayers with payment plans, the department will assess situations on a case-by-case basis and may allow deferral of payments for an extended period of time.

Additionally, all department offices in Helena are closed indefinitely to the public starting Wednesday, Sanjay Talwani, spokesman for the department, told Bloomberg Tax.

West Virginia Extends Deadlines

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) said at a press conference Wednesday that he was instructing his tax commissioner to extend both the filing and payment deadlines for state income taxes until July 15 to match the federal relief.

“We surely don’t need to task you to go do two different filings,” he told state residents.

Justice said that the relief was being given after officials considered a likely shortfall and fiscal year budget issues. Federal stimulus efforts are providing “opportunity and promise to go forward with this,” he said.

The governor also announced that he was waiving interest and penalties on property tax filings under his own authority until May 1, with the details to be posted Thursday on the state tax department’s website.

Ohio Senate Backs Deadline Extension

Ohio income tax filing and payment deadlines would be pushed back to July 15 under a bill that unanimously passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

That cleared the way for discussion of a bill (H.B 197), a 683-page omnibus response to the coronavirus situation, that will be considered by the House later Wednesday.

If the bill passes the House, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is expected to sign the bill. He’s held daily press conferences where he mentions working with the Legislature on this bill, including his desire to align Ohio’s income tax filing delay with the IRS’s.

Many states have already extended their deadlines, some because their filing and payment dates are linked by statute to the IRS’s. For others, like Ohio, legislative or other action is necessary, a big obstacle in a time of serious disruption.

San Francisco Tax Revenue Battered

San Francisco’s revenue loss from the new coronavirus contagion will likely exceed $100 million this fiscal year and reach into “the hundreds of millions of dollars and worsening” for the next fiscal year, the city’s controller said Wednesday.

City Controller Ben Rosenfield will report next week to the Board of Supervisors the revenue losses from the March 17 shelter-in-place order that kept people away from shops and shuttered businesses.

“They will be extreme,” Rosenfield told the board’s Budget Committee.

Louisiana Suspends Deadlines

The Louisiana Tax Commission on Wednesday suspended until at least April 13 the deadline for filing personal property renditions with local assessors from April 1 previously.

It said the new deadline also applied to public service companies for filing their annual reports with the commission.

All appeal hearings before the commission have been suspended indefinitely. However, the commission said it would continue meeting by phone to consider valorem property tax change order requests, tax sale cancellations, and similar issues.

The commission made the changes to comply with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive orders closing state office buildings to the public, prohibiting gatherings of 10 people or more and mandating a general stay-at-home order, according to the advisory.

New Mexico Allowing Interest-Free Payments

The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department won’t charge interest on personal and corporate income taxes filed and paid by the extended July 15 deadline, it announced Wednesday. New Mexico’s filing deadline is tied to the federal deadline, and the IRS extension “enables us to forgo imposing interest charges normally required under New Mexico law,” Stephanie Schardin Clarke, the department secretary, said in a statement.

The extended deadline also applies to quarterly personal income tax estimated payments for self-employed people, the department said.

Withholding tax extensions, though, will accrue interest, according to the department. It said that could be offset by a one-time tax credit that the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) will ask the state Legislature to pass the next time they meet.

NYC Property Tax Options

The New York City Department of Finance laid out the ways it can help people who have trouble paying property taxes—exemption programs to lower the amount owed, payment plan options, and a new tax and interest deferral option that can be shorter or longer depending on the nature of the hardship.

Last week the department said it would waive penalties, upon request, for late filing, late payment, or underpayment of business and excise taxes, as well as the real property transfer tax. Interest will still be due, however. The waiver applies to returns due between March 15 and April 25.

—With assistance from Laura Mahoney in Sacramento, Michael J. Bologna in Chicago, Paul Stinson in Austin, Texas, Andrew M. Ballard in Raleigh, N.C., Jennifer Kay in Miami, John Herzfeld in New York City, and Brenna Goth in Phoenix.

(Adds Oregon)

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Ebert in Columbus, Ohio at aebert@bloomberglaw.com; Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at jcutler@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; David Jolly at djolly@bloombergtax.com

To read more articles log in.