COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When the federal government pushed its income tax payment and filing deadline back 90 days from April 15 to July 15, a lot of people breathed a sigh of relief.
But that didn’t let them off the hook for state or local taxes.
States like Ohio will have to make their own determinations on whether to move the deadline and if so, to when.
The general consensus is that will likely be to the same day as the federal deadline and for good reason. In many cases, in order to actually do your state taxes, preparers need to do your federal taxes first.
On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he expects the state legislature to address the deadline in upcoming legislation, but until it actually happens, nothing has changed.
”Everybody thinks, ‘I don’t have to file until July 15th.’ If the state doesn’t follow suit, well, your state taxes are still due April 15th,” said Andy Bean, the vice president of Glenn Bookkeeping.
Many cities in Ohio follow the guidance of the state and set their tax deadlines for the same day. Delaying this revenue will have an impact in some areas more than others.
Places like Columbus are in good shape. Financially, the city said it can weather the storm for a while, partially through good money management, but also because it only has to rely on 17 percent of its income tax revenue to come from individual and business income taxes, with the remaining 83 percent coming automatically from employers.
Where there may be a problem is in Ohio’s rural areas and in cities that either don’t have good money management or have a population that works and lives in the city.
Delaying income tax revenues could end up impacting the ability for local governments in difficult financial situations to pay for necessary services.
It could also hit some businesses who help taxpayers prepare those filings hard as people put off taking care of their taxes when they normally would be getting them done.
“Tax season is long hours,” Bean said. “People are going to expect we’ll be here all day, every day after April 15th. We can’t continue to do that, we can’t pay the employees to be here. We’ve talked to a couple today, as far as you know maybe go home for a couple of weeks, see if you can get unemployment.”
On top of that, social distancing is making the normal way taxes are done more than a little difficult.
“You can’t come into the offices, we can’t come to you,” Bean said. “It’s hard to sit down and talk to you about your tax issues. It’s gonna be hard to get the taxes done correctly.”
Some corporate chains offering tax preparation services are providing drop-off and pick-up options to avoid personal contact. The difficulty is in maintaining confidentiality in the process.
For regular taxpayers, like Anita Goodwin, this has all been yet another issue that has been turned upside down because of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“Because of the epidemic, everything is happening and you have to adjust to what’s going on. I can’t say I understand it,” said Goodwin. “It’s so confusing; it’s becoming too confusing, now.”
But Bean said it all comes down to an old adage: “The only two things certain in life is death and taxes; the taxes are still gonna have to get filed.”
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