- Further session postponements: AL, IA, RI Arizona: Rescinded plans to adjourn May 1; next legislative meeting day not scheduled Missouri: Legislative session resumed with social distancing measures in place North Carolina: Convened regular 2020 session as scheduled on April 28
- Announced plans to end this year’s regular legislative session: AZ, AR, CT Announced plans to convene special session later this year: AZ, CT New revenue forecasts: CA, DE, KS, MD April sales tax deadline newly extended to May: CO, MN Arkansas: FY 2021 budget passed both chambers Illinois: Legislative session further postponed Kansas: Veto session postponed indefinitely Missouri: FY 2020 spending freeze announced New Jersey: Bill enacted to codify income tax deadline extension Oklahoma: Board of Equalization officially declared revenue shortfall, authorizing use of rainy day fund money to close budget gaps Vermont: Legislators do not plan to pass a complete FY 2021 budget until August or September Virginia: Biennial budget enacted for FY 2021 and FY 2022; new excise tax on “skill games” adopted Washington: Taxpayers applying for a waiver may delay payment of alcohol and cannabis excise taxes District of Columbia: Mayor Bowser is scheduled to present her FY 2021 budget on May 12; rent freeze expanded to include commercial tenants
- Further session postponements: CT, RI, SC New tax deadline extensions announced: AK, IA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, WI New revenue projections or insight into potential revenue shortfalls: DE, IN, MD, PA Budget cuts being considered: AR, HI Colorado: Spending cuts initiated for current fiscal year Kentucky: Legislature overrode governor's line-item vetoes to budget and revenue bills Louisiana: Considering a special session Rhode Island: State financial planning meetings to occur in April and May Virginia: Governor has issued line-item amendments to the FY 2021-22 budget, including spending freezes Wisconsin: Special session held April 14-15 District of Columbia: DC will not seek to establish nexus for business tax purposes for employees temporarily teleworking in the District due to the coronavirus
Like the federal government, states play a critical role in responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Legislators across the country are working to respond as quickly and effectively as possible, while balancing public health risks of legislative sessions for both legislators and the public. Most states typically begin their legislative sessions in January and adjourn for the year between March and May, but this is turning into an anything-but-typical legislative year.
Many states are racing to pass budgets, emergency COVID-19 supplemental appropriations, and other must-pass legislation as quickly as possible so they can adjourn earlier than anticipated and avoid unnecessary risk of exposure. Other states, especially those with legislative calendars scheduled to extend later into the year, have suspended their legislative sessions, with plans to resume once the virus is better contained. Some state legislatures, even those that have already adjourned, will undoubtedly reconvene to further address the pandemic. It may be necessary for legislators to come back to make budget adjustments. States should also follow the federal government in delaying tax filing and payment deadlines, though this can typically be done administratively.
While direct public health interventions and assistance to those in economic distress are the most urgent needs, tax policy will play an important role in this process, both in states’ efforts to provide relief and, ultimately, to cover the costs of these outlays. State procedures vary in the event of a failure to adopt a budget, though at this time most legislatures still appear to be striving to have budgets in place by the start of the next fiscal year.
The following table indicates when each legislature is next scheduled to meet, when it is currently scheduled to adjourn, what schedule adjustments are being contemplated or made in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the status of the state’s budget, and the state’s rainy day fund (RDF) balance as a percentage of the prior year’s general fund budget.
A state-by-state roundup of major state legislative responses to the COVID-19 outbreak appears below the table and will be updated periodically.
|State||Next Legislative Meeting Day||Originally Scheduled Adjournment||COVID-19 Schedule Adjustments||Budget Status||RDF Balance||Revised Income Tax Filing Date|
|Alabama||May 4||May 19||Suspended until May 4||Pending||10.1%||July 15|
|Alaska||None scheduled||May 20||In recess; return not currently scheduled||Enacted||52.6%||No Change§|
|Arizona||None scheduled||April 25||Session suspended repeatedly||Enacted||8.8%||July 15|
|Arkansas||Scheduled to adjourn sine die on April 24||May 7||Special special held March 26; fiscal session convened as scheduled April 8||Sent to governor||2.7%||July 15|
|California||May 4||November 30||Suspended until May 4||Pending||13.0%||July 15|
|Colorado||May 18||May 6||Suspended until May 18; Colorado Supreme Court ruled session can extend beyond May 6||Pending||7.9%||July 15‡|
|Connecticut||None scheduled||May 6||Remainder of legislative session canceled; special session expected||Enacted||15.3%||July 15|
|Delaware||None scheduled||June 30||Suspended indefinitely||Pending||5.4%||July 15|
|Florida||None scheduled||March 13||Adjourned March 19||Passed both chambers||4.6%||No Change§|
|Georgia||None scheduled||March 27||Suspended indefinitely||Pending||10.6%*||July 15|
|Hawaii||None scheduled||May 7||Suspended indefinitely||Biennial budget enacted; supplemental FY 2021 budget pending||4.8%||July 20|
|Idaho||None scheduled||March 27||Adjourned March 20||Enacted||9.5%||June 15|
|Illinois||None scheduled||Year-Round||Session suspensions in both chambers||Pending||0.0%||July 15|
|Indiana||None scheduled||March 11||Adjourned sine die March 11 as scheduled||Enacted||8.6%||July 15|
|Iowa||After May 15||April 21||Suspended through May 15||Pending||10.3%||July 31|
|Kansas||None scheduled (April 27 veto session postponed)||April 3||Adjourned early for March spring break; veto session postponed||Enacted||0.0%||July 15|
|Kentucky||None scheduled||April 15||Adjourned sine die April 15 as scheduled; governor’s line item budget vetoes overridden||Enacted||2.6%||July 15|
|Louisiana||None scheduled||June 1||Suspended indefinitely||Pending||4.4%||July 15|
|Maine||None scheduled||April 15||Adjourned sine die March 17||Enacted||7.8%||July 15|
|Maryland||Adjourned||April 6||Adjourned sine die March 18||Sent to governor||6.2%||July 15|
|Massachusetts||In session||July 31||Social distancing measures in place; committee business conducted online||Pending||9.5%||July 15|
|Michigan||In session||Year-Round||Reconvened after brief suspension with social distancing measures in place||Pending||11.0%*||July 15|
|Minnesota||In session||May 18||Reconvened after brief suspension with social distancing measures in place||Enacted||10.4%||July 15|
|Mississippi||None scheduled||May 10||Suspended indefinitely||Pending||8.1%||May 15|
|Missouri||In session||May 15||After suspension, reconvened April 27 with social distancing measures in place||Pending||6.3%||July 15|
|Montana||None scheduled||No Session||Not in session; interim meetings cancelled||Enacted||4.6%||July 15|
|Nebraska||None scheduled||April 23||Suspended indefinitely||Enacted||11.0%||July 15|
|Nevada||None scheduled||No regular session in 2020||No||Enacted||8.9%||n.a.|
|New Hampshire||May 4||June 30||Suspended through May 4||Enacted||7.4%||No Change§¶|
|New Jersey||In session||Year-Round||Meeting remotely||Pending||1.0%||July 15|
|New Mexico||None scheduled||February 20||No, adjourned sine die February 20 as scheduled||Enacted||26.8%||July 15|
|New York||In recess||Year-Round||Temporarily in recess; return not currently scheduled||Enacted||3.2%||July 15|
|North Carolina||In session||Mid-July||Convened April 28 as originally planned||Enacted||5.3%*||July 15|
|North Dakota||None scheduled||No Session||No||Enacted||30.0%||July 15|
|Ohio||Meeting regularly as scheduled||Year-Round||House suspended briefly; both chambers now in session||Enacted||7.7%||July 15|
|Oklahoma||In recess||May 29||Reconvened after brief suspension with social distancing measures in place||Pending||11.5%*||July 15|
|Oregon||None scheduled||March 8||Special session likely||Enacted||13.5%||July 15|
|Pennsylvania||In session (remote)||Year-Round||In session but voting remotely||Pending||1.0%||July 15|
|Rhode Island||May 5||Year-Round||Suspended until May 5||Pending||5.2%||July 15|
|South Carolina||None scheduled||May 14||Suspended indefinitely||Pending||6.6%||July 15|
|South Dakota||June special session||March 30||Adjourned sine die March 31; special session expected in June||Sent to governor||11.1%||n.a.|
|Tennessee||June 1||April 22||Suspended until June 1||Sent to governor||7.0%||July 15§|
|Texas||None scheduled||No Session||Committee hearings suspended||Enacted||12.9%||n.a.|
|Utah||None scheduled||March 12||No, adjourned sine die March 12 as scheduled||Enacted||9.9%||July 15|
|Vermont||None scheduled||May 8||Approved remote voting||Pending||13.7%||July 15|
|Virginia||Adjourned||March 12||Adjourned after April 22 veto session as scheduled||Sent to governor||6.0%||June 1†|
|Washington||None scheduled||March 12||No, adjourned sine die March 12 as scheduled||Enacted||8.0%||n.a.|
|West Virginia||None scheduled||March 7||No, adjourned sine die March 7 as scheduled||Enacted||16.9%||July 15|
|Wisconsin||May 12-13 veto session||March 7||Special session held April 14-15||Enacted||3.6%||July 15|
|Wyoming||None scheduled||March 12||No, adjourned sine die March 12 as scheduled||Enacted||109.0%||n.a.|
|District of Columbia||May 5||Year-Round||Meeting remotely||Pending||14.4%||July 15|
|* Rainy Day Fund levels from 2019 in these states (Georgia 2018). All other states have January 1, 2020 data.
† Extension only applies to payment obligations, not filing.
‡ Colorado has extended its payment deadline to July 15 but provided an automatic filing extension for all taxpayers to October 15.
§ State has a corporate income tax but no individual income tax on wage income. New Hampshire and Tennessee tax interest and dividend income.
¶ Only taxpayers owing $10,000 or less in interest and dividend taxes in Tax Year 2018 are eligible for the extended deadline.
Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures; National Association of State Budget Officers; state legislative websites and news articles.
Alabama Legislative Session Updates
The legislature has approved and Governor Kay Ivey (R) has signed a $5 million emergency appropriation for COVID-19 response efforts. On March 31, both the House and Senate voted to suspend the session until April 28. However, the House Speaker and Senate President both later agreed to further postpone the next legislative meeting day to May 4. Under powers authorized by the state’s Emergency Management Act and confirmed by the attorney general’s office, Governor Ivey has postponed to July 14 primary runoff elections that were originally set for March 31. The state has not yet passed a budget for fiscal year 2021. The state has announced that it will follow the IRS in delaying its income tax filing deadlines from April 15 to July 15. The Department of Revenue is also moving back the February, March, and April sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. payment, but not filing, deadlines for small businesses affected by the pandemic (those with less than $62,500 in monthly sales in 2019 are eligible for the payment extension). [Updated 4/30 and 4/2 with session information and 3/20 with filing and payment extension.]
Alaska Legislative Session Updates
In early March, Alaska lawmakers approved $4.1 million in emergency state funding to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 29, after both chambers passed a budget for FY 2021, the legislature went into recess for an indefinite period of time. While legislators announced no definitive plans to reconvene, the legislative session remains ongoing until May 20, meaning the session could still resume before that date. Legislative attorneys have said the state constitution does not allow for remote voting.
After making extensive line-item vetoes, Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) signed the FY 2021 budget into law on April 6. According to the Anchorage Daily News, the governor has said he intends to use federal funding to offset certain budget cuts, but some legislative leaders have questioned whether federal CARES Act money can be used for those purposes. The governor has since said property taxes may have to increase if federal funding cannot be used for that purpose. The signed budget includes Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) checks amounting to approximately $1,000 apiece to be distributed in October to eligible Alaskans.
While, at face value, Alaska’s rainy day fund reserves appear strong, the state relies heavily on severance tax revenue and thus is being severely impacted by the decline in oil prices. And the state faces a massive projected revenue shortfall of $2.5 billion, an estimate which predates the current crisis or the latest collapse in oil prices.
Alaska has expanded unemployment benefits, and the waiting period has been waived. On April 10, Gov. Dunleavy signed legislation to extend all deadlines for all taxes administered by Alaska’s Tax Division from March 31 to July 15, except Oil and Gas Property and Production taxes. [Updated 4/16 with tax extensions, 4/9 with signed budget information, 4/2 with budget and session information, 3/24 with updated status of budget, 3/23 with Senate budget introduction and plans to adjourn, and 3/19 with details of House supplemental budget vote.]
Arizona Legislative Session Updates
After passing a budget on March 23, Arizona’s House and Senate recessed with hopes of reconvening April 13. However, on April 7, House and Senate leaders announced the legislative session had been further postponed and that they would reevaluate at the end of the month. On April 22, legislative leaders announced plans to officially end this year’s legislative session on May 1, stating their intention of calling a special session in the summer to address the budgetary and economic impacts of the pandemic. However, many legislators objected to those plans to adjourn, as hundreds of bills would have gone unheard. On April 23, legislative leaders rescinded their plans to adjourn, but as of April 30, they had not yet scheduled their next legislative meeting day. In March, several legislators expressed their belief that COVID-19 response legislation would remain their top priority this session and that most unrelated bills would stall even if they had momentum earlier in the session.
On March 23, the House agreed to a scaled-down $11.8 billion Senate-passed FY 2021 budget package that includes $50 million in new coronavirus funding in addition to $55 million in emergency coronavirus response money that was approved earlier in March. Some legislators voted remotely under recently adopted rules changes. Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed the budget on March 28.
When it was enacted in March, the FY 2021 budget was widely viewed as a contingency budget meant to continue government operations should the legislature be unable to reconvene before the start of the new fiscal year. If lawmakers return before the start of the new fiscal year, they expect to revisit certain budget provisions. The Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, in an April 9 Finance Advisory Committee briefing, projected a $1.1 billion revenue shortfall for FY 2021, while acknowledging a margin of error of as much as $500 million in either direction. Originally, Arizona was set to end FY 2020 with a $1 billion budget surplus, and in his January State of the State address, Gov. Ducey proposed using some of that surplus for tax cuts in FY 2021. Arizona’s Budget Stabilization Fund had over $1 billion in reserves as of the beginning of 2020.
The Arizona Department of Revenue has moved the income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15. [Updated 4/30 with rescission of May 1 adjournment plans, 4/23 with further session suspension and planned adjournment, 4/9 with session changes, 4/2 with signing of the budget, 3/27 with legislative priorities, 3/25 with new budget information, 3/24 with information on budget passage and the new income tax filing and payment deadline, and 3/23 with new information on budget negotiations.]
Arkansas Legislative Session Updates
The Arkansas Legislature convened March 26 for an extraordinary session to create a special rainy day fund for COVID-19 and to discuss the anticipated revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year. Arkansas has revised its revenue forecast for FY 2020, showing a loss of $353.1 million compared to its May 2019 forecast. In early March, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he wanted to transfer some of the state’s $54 million surplus into the Long Term Reserve Fund (the state’s general rainy day fund). The Long Term Reserve Fund is currently funded at only $153 million, or 2.7 percent of last year’s general fund budget.
Both chambers convened on April 8, with social distancing measures in place, for the scheduled fiscal session. Both the House and the Senate passed a $5.8 billion budget for FY 2021 on April 16, setting aside $60 million for the Restricted Reserve Fund so it can be accessed later in the year if necessary. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has reduced its revenue forecast by $205.9 million, or 3.6 percent, going into FY 2021; so, at the request of Gov. Hutchinson, the budget that passed both chambers reduced spending below his original proposal. According to the Speaker of the House, most agencies—except the departments of Human Services, Education, and Correction—will see 5 percent budget cuts. However, if revenue collections exceed expectations, up to $212 million in additional funding will become available.
The House and Senate met in separate locations to allow for proper social distancing, and both chambers allowed remote voting. Lawmakers were set to reconvene April 24 to adjourn this year’s session nearly two weeks earlier than the original May 7 adjournment date. Arkansas has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15. [Updated 4/23 and 4/16 with budget information, 4/9 with session information, 3/27 with revised revenue forecast, 3/26 with special session and rainy day fund information, and 3/25 with filing extension.]
California Legislative Session Updates
The legislature on March 16 approved legislation allowing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to spend up to $1 billion for any purpose related to his coronavirus emergency declaration. On March 25, the governor announced plans to use $1.4 billion from the emergency fund and any other legally available state funds to purchase medical supplies and care for coronavirus patients. As of April 15, the state had already allocated $1.3 billion of the $1.4 billion from the emergency fund and $768 million from other funds for COVID-19. In mid-March, the legislature suspended its session until April 13, but on April 3, legislative leaders announced the next meeting day would be further postponed to May 4. California’s legislative session is scheduled to last through November.
On March 24, the California Department of Finance notified legislators that the normal budget schedule and underlying revenue assumptions and policy goals would have to be reconsidered and said there should be no expectation of full funding for new or existing policy proposals. Typically, the Department updates revenue and expenditure projections by April 1 to be incorporated into the governor’s revised budget request, but the Department did not do so this year given the evolving nature of COVID-19’s impact on the state’s economy. When lawmakers reconvene, revising the budget will be a top priority, with a final budget expected to be signed in June.
California has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15. In addition, Gov. Newsom has granted small businesses an automatic extension to July 31 for the filing and payment of various taxes. Specifically, any business that would need to file a return and pay taxes amounting to less than $1 million will have until the end of July to do so. The filing deadline for excise taxes on alcohol and motor fuel is moved to June 15; the filing deadline for excise taxes on tobacco is moved to June 25; and the filing deadline for excise taxes on marijuana is moved to June 30. As of April 2, businesses with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales could defer up to $50,000 in sales and use tax liability, paying in installments over 12 months without interest or penalties. On April 10, President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D) asked the Senate to pause all bills except those in response to COVID-19 and created a subcommittee on California’s COVID-19 response to review expenditures related to the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, California’s individual income, corporate income, and sales tax collections for March were $111 million higher than projected. California’s Department of Finance has projected more than $7 billion in COVID-19 response-related expenditures in 2020 and plans to receive $5.25 billion in federal funding for the expenditures. California is expecting to collect only $19.8 billion in the last quarter of FY 2020, or only about 39 percent of the amount originally anticipated. Much of this shortfall is due to tax payment due dates getting pushed into the next fiscal year. The California Legislative Analyst’s office has said the state could face a short-term budget shortfall of as much as $35 billion. [Updated 4/23 with revenue forecasts and COVID-19 spending, 4/16 with new subcommittee, 4/9 with session information and sales tax remittance deferral, 4/2 with small business filing extension, 3/26 with emergency fund use, 3/25 with updated budget information, and 3/20 with income tax filing extension.]
Colorado Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly suspended its session March 14, roughly midway through the 120-day session, and set an initial tentative return date of March 30 while acknowledging the recess might extend longer. On March 30, the legislature reconvened in pro forma session just long enough to recess again, allowing the legislature to adjourn for up to three days.
On April 1, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled the legislature may extend its legislative session beyond the scheduled May 6 adjournment date. However, the Colorado Constitution requires the legislature pass a budget and school finance bill before July 1. The bipartisan Joint Budget Committee, comprised of six of the 100 state legislators, has continued to meet even while the full legislature has not. On April 8, legislative leaders announced tentative plans to resume this year’s legislative session May 18.
Colorado has extended its income tax payment deadline to July 15 and its filing deadline to October 15. The Colorado Department of Revenue also extended the April 20 sales tax filing and payment deadline to May 20 for state sales taxes and local sales taxes administered by the state. However, home rule municipalities and counties that administer their local sales taxes separately from the state are not required to offer the same extension, and many have not extended their deadlines.
Gov. Jared Polis (D) in his emergency declaration ordered funds be used for specific coronavirus response purposes. In preparation for up to three years of possible revenue declines, the Office of State Planning and Budgeting has requested departments look for ways to cut spending in the current fiscal year, such as by hiring only critical employees and delaying new contracts and grants where possible. The budgeting office has specifically requested each department revert 5 percent more funding back to the state this year than the amount of funding it reverted last year. [Updated 4/23 with sales tax deadline extension information, 4/16 with budget cut information, 4/2 with Colorado Supreme Court decision, 3/25 with session scheduling update, and 3/24 with new income tax deadlines.]
Connecticut Legislative Session Updates
After initially suspending the legislative session until March 30 and postponing it again on more than one occasion, legislative leaders on April 21 announced that the remainder of this year’s legislative session will be canceled, as the pandemic will prevent legislators from returning for regular business before the May 6 adjournment date. However, plans are being formulated to convene a special session in the coming months. Connecticut is operating under a two-year budget for fiscal years 2020-21.
The state extended the filing and payment deadline for various income, estate, and business taxes to July 15. On March 30, the state decided to extend the sales tax and room occupancy tax for small businesses that reported $150,000 or less in tax from the 2019 tax year; payments due on March 31 and April 30 are now due on May 31 for monthly filers, and payments due on April 30 are extended to May 31 for quarterly filers. Connecticut has suspended the plastic bag tax, which is a 10-cent-per-bag tax on disposable shopping bags, until May 15. [Updated 4/23 and 4/16 with session information, 4/8 with small business relief and plastic bag tax suspension, 4/2 with budget information, 3/25 with legislative plans, and 3/24 and 3/20 with filing extension information.]
Delaware Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly, which meets throughout the year, has been suspended indefinitely, after initially being suspended for one week through March 24. The legislature has yet to adopt a budget for FY 2021. In light of the pandemic, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council reduced revenue forecasts for both the current fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year by a combined $689 million below last month’s forecasts.
Gov. John Carney (D) announced no-interest 10-year loans capped at $10,000 per month for qualifying restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses, to be used for non-personnel costs such as rent and utilities. Payments are deferred for nine months. This is for eligible businesses in operation for at least a year, with annual revenue below $1.5 million. Unemployment insurance benefits can be claimed by those working part-time provided they document their decreased hours and earnings. Gov. Carney has said the state may face a $500 million revenue loss due to the coronavirus.
Delaware is among a handful of states that does not follow the typical April 15 federal tax filing deadline but instead has its own separate state filing deadline, which is typically April 30. This year, Delaware has joined the majority of states in delaying its deadline for filing and payment of individual and corporate income taxes to July 15. [Updated 4/23 with revised revenue projections, 3/25 with typical income tax filing deadline, 3/24 with income tax filing and payment extension, 3/20 with loan and UI benefit announcements, and 3/19 with announcement of indefinite suspension.]
Florida Legislative Session Updates
The legislature extended its 60-day session, which was originally scheduled to end March 13, in order to finalize a $93.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2021. The budget, which was approved unanimously by legislators on March 19 before they adjourned for the year, dedicates $300 million in reserve funds to address COVID-19 and earmarks $25.5 million in FY 2020 and $27.3 million in FY 2021 for coronavirus response. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who has line-item veto authority, will have 15 days to act on the budget once it is formally sent to him. The governor has said he does not plan to act on the budget immediately but will focus his efforts on other COVID-19 response efforts and will wait to make decisions on the budget until revenue adjustment needs become more apparent. The Palm Beach Post reports the governor will likely use his line-item veto authority to reduce spending across many accounts while freeing up additional COVID-19 relief funding. As an alternative, the legislature could reconvene in a special session to amend the budget.
On March 26, the state announced an extension of the March 31 property taxA property tax is primarily levied on immovable property like land and buildings, as well as on tangible personal property that is movable, like vehicles and equipment. Property taxes are the single largest source of state and local revenue in the U.S. and help fund schools, roads, police, and other services. payment due date to April 15. Florida, one of the states with no individual income taxAn individual income tax (or personal income tax) is levied on the wages, salaries, investments, or other forms of income an individual or household earns. The U.S. imposes a progressive income tax where rates increase with income. The Federal Income Tax was established in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment. Though barely 100 years old, individual income taxes are the largest source of tax revenue in the U.S. , has extended various sales, tourism, and excise tax deadlines. [Updated 4/23 with additional information on the budget, 4/9 with new budget information, 4/2 with sales tax extension, 3/27 with property tax extension, 3/26 with new budget information, and 3/23 with budget vote and adjournment.]
Georgia Legislative Session Updates
Georgia’s legislative session has been suspended indefinitely since March 13, after both chambers passed, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed, an amended mid-year fiscal year 2020 state budget. Legislators approved shifting $100 million from the state’s $2.8 billion of reserves into the governor’s emergency fund for coronavirus response. Georgia’s legislative session was originally scheduled to adjourn March 27; legislators must still pass a budget for FY 2021. Among the priorities policymakers hoped to adopt this year were a pay raise for teachers and a House-passed individual income tax reduction and reform package that would consolidate the state’s six individual income tax bracketA tax bracket is the range of incomes taxed at given rates, which typically differ depending on filing status. In a progressive individual or corporate income tax system, rates rise as income increases. There are seven federal individual income tax brackets; the federal corporate income tax system is flat. s into one. House Speaker David Ralston (R) and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) have the authority to call the legislature back into session at will.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state generates about $5.2 billion of its revenue, or 28 percent, from April to June. With the slowdown because of the coronavirus outbreak, Georgia could face a deficit of more than $1 billion before the end of the fiscal year. Georgia’s income tax filing deadline is extended to July 15. [Updated 4/23 with information about the FY 2021 budget and the pending individual income tax reform bill, 3/27 with impact of income tax deadline extension on state’s budget, 3/26 with information on self-quarantine, 3/24 with income tax filing extension, and 3/19 with $1 billion deficit estimate.]
Hawaii Legislative Session Updates
The 2020 legislative session has been suspended indefinitely since March 17. Hawaii is currently operating under a two-year budget for FY 2020 and FY 2021 but had been drafting a supplemental budget for FY 2021 before the legislative session was suspended. Hawaii News Now has reported public employee pay cuts or furloughs are being considered. Hawaii’s legislative session is scheduled to adjourn May 7, but a special session could convene at a later date if requested by legislative leaders or the governor.
Hawaii is among a handful of states that does not follow the typical April 15 federal tax filing deadline but instead has its own separate state filing deadline, which is typically April 22. On March 23, the Hawaii Department of Revenue announced extending its deadline for income tax filing and payment to July 20, five days after this year’s July 15 federal deadline. [Updated 4/23 with additional information about the supplemental budget, 4/16 with potential budget cuts, 3/25 with information about Hawaii’s typical income tax filing deadline, and 3/23 with income tax filing extension.]
Idaho Legislative Session Updates
Legislative leaders expedited consideration of the fiscal year 2021 budget and appropriations bills and adjourned for the year on March 20. A request by Gov. Brad Little (R) for the legislature to transfer $2 million to an emergency coronavirus response fund was approved by both chambers. On March 27, Gov. Little issued an executive order transferring $39.3 million out of the state’s Tax Relief Fund and into the disaster emergency fund. The Tax Relief Fund is an account to which online sales tax revenue has been directed since before the U.S. Supreme Court’s South Dakota v. WayfairSouth Dakota v. Wayfair was a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision eliminating the requirement that a seller have physical presence in the taxing state to be able to collect and remit sales taxes to that state. It expanded states’ abilities to collect sales taxes from e-commerce and other remote transactions. decision.
By the end of this year, it was originally expected there would be $80 million set aside in the Tax Relief Fund. In his January State of the State address, Gov. Little had proposed using $35 million from the Tax Relief Fund to provide relief from the sales tax on groceries, leaving the details to legislators. A bill to enhance the state’s existing grocery tax creditA tax credit is a provision that reduces a taxpayer’s final tax bill, dollar-for-dollar. A tax credit differs from deductions and exemptions, which reduce taxable income, rather than the taxpayer’s tax bill directly. passed out of the House Ways and Means CommitteeThe Committee on Ways and Means, more commonly referred to as the House Ways and Means Committee, is one of 29 U.S. House of Representative committees and is the chief tax-writing committee in the U.S. The House Ways and Means Committee has jurisdiction over all bills relating to taxes and other revenue generation, as well as spending programs like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance, among others. , but after the bill’s floor consideration date was pushed back numerous times, the legislature ultimately adjourned without it receiving a vote.
With Idaho’s legislature adjourning for the year amid the coronavirus crisis, and with money having been transferred out of the Tax Relief Fund, the proposed grocery credit enhancement, as well as property tax cuts that had been considered in the legislature, have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Idaho has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to June 15, and the deadline for property tax relief applications is now June 15. Even without delaying its income tax filing deadline into FY 2021, Idaho has projected it would end FY 2020 with a budget shortfall if it took no action. To prevent this, Gov. Little on March 27 issued an executive order requiring one percent across-the-board budget cuts for all state agencies except those directly aiding in COVID-19 response efforts. Gov. Little has said he does not anticipate raising taxes in response to state revenue shortfalls.
[Updated 4/23 with governor’s comments on avoiding tax increases, 4/2 with Tax Relief Fund, grocery tax credit, and budget cut details, 3/26 with property tax relief considerations, 3/24 with income tax filing extension and property tax relief extension, and 3/23 to note adjournment.]
Illinois Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly had been set to return to session March 18, a day after the state’s primary election, but decided against it in light of the coronavirus crisis. The state’s legislative session, which lasts throughout the year, has been postponed several times. Session days originally scheduled for the week of March 30 were canceled. The General Assembly’s Spring Break ran April 6-17, with the session originally scheduled to resume April 21, but the Senate again suspended its next meeting day to April 28, and the House suspended indefinitely.
With the rainy day fund nearly depleted, Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in February, before the extent of the coronavirus outbreak was known, said he wanted to put $50 million from an expected state surplus into the fund this year and $50 million into the fund next year. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the state’s nearly-empty Budget Stabilization Fund would not even be able to cover 16 minutes’ worth of state spending.
On March 19, Gov. Pritzker announced the Department of Revenue is waiving penalties and interest for late sales tax remittance by qualifying restaurants and bars to help them maintain liquidity at a time when the state has required they shutter their doors to dine-in customers. Filing deadlines remain in place. The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability published a budget forecast for fiscal years 2021-23. The new report describes the coming years’ potential revenue losses in regards to the coronavirus, with the lower estimate of revenue losses near $2 billion and the more severe estimate over $8 billion. The state has extended income tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15. [Updated 4/23 and 4/16 with session information, 4/2 with session adjustments, 3/26 with income tax extension, 3/25 with budget forecast, 3/23 with further session postponement, and 3/20 with sales tax remittance deferral information.]
Indiana Legislative Session Updates
The 2020 regular legislative session wrapped up March 11 as scheduled, but some legislative leaders have called for a special session to address the coronavirus outbreak. This is a non-budget year for Indiana, as the state passed its two-year budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 in April 2019. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said he will redirect $300 million in reserve funds, which were previously designated for capital projects, to instead be used for COVID-19 response efforts. He will now consider financing the recently approved capital projects by issuing bonds. The state has announced that income tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to July 15.
Indiana’s March revenue report showed actual tax collections for the month were 6 percent lower than expected, with sales, individual, and corporate income, and gambling revenue all lower than expected. Annual collections totals remain ahead of projections for this time of year, but actual tax collections in April are expected to be lower than those in March. The Office of Management and Budget is considering issuing a revised revenue forecast this summer. [Updated 4/16 with revenue collections and forecasting information, 3/26 with coronavirus response funding details, and 3/20 with filing extension.]
Iowa Legislative Session Updates
Iowa has extended its legislative recess. Initially set to last through April 15, lawmakers now have no plans to reconvene until after May 15. Prior to suspending the session, lawmakers passed a session law providing supplemental appropriations for July and August 2020 at current levels, but only to take effect if the legislature is unable to reconvene before the start of the new fiscal year. The same law also provides $91.8 million in additional funding for the current fiscal year, including for response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Iowa is among a handful of states that does not follow the typical April 15 federal tax filing deadline but instead has its own separate state filing deadline, which is typically April 30. This year, Iowa has extended its deadline for filing and payment of individual income, corporate income, franchise, and related taxes to July 31. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on March 20 also suspended interest and penalties for late property tax payments, as well as late alcoholic beverage tax payments, The Iowa Department of Revenue is allowing businesses impacted by the coronavirus to apply to defer sales and withholdingWithholding is the income an employer takes out of an employee’s paycheck and remits to the federal, state, and/or local government. It is calculated based on the amount of income earned, the taxpayer’s filing status, the number of allowances claimed, and any additional amount of the employee requests. tax payments for 60 days, and will accept applications through April 30. On April 9, the Iowa DOR announced conditional penalty relief for underpayment of estimated individual, corporate, or franchise taxes with due dates between April 30 and July 30 for the 2020 tax year. [Updated 4/30 with further session postponement, 4/16 with sales tax deferrals by application and estimated tax payment penalty relief, 4/9 with session information, 3/25 with typical income tax filing deadline, 3/24 with property and alcoholic beverage tax update and 3/20 with income tax filing extension.]
Kansas Legislative Session Updates
The legislature worked quickly the week of March 16 to pass a basic FY 2021 budget package, which includes coronavirus response measures and a transportation plan. Both chambers passed the final budget March 19 and then adjourned for the spring recess earlier than planned. The FY 2021 budget, which contains supplemental appropriations for FY 2020, includes $65 million for coronavirus response efforts. The budget was signed into law March 25 by Gov. Laura Kelly (D).
The legislature was scheduled to reconvene for its annual wrap-up session April 27, but that legislative meeting day has been postponed to a date yet to be determined. The Legislative Coordinating Council plans to make a decision by May 6 regarding a revised date to take up gubernatorial vetoes.
On April 20, the Consensus Estimating Group revised its November 2019 revenue estimates for FY 2020 and FY 2021, projecting total General Fund revenues will come in $1.272 billion below initial projections. FY 2020 General Fund revenues are now projected to come in $826.9 million (10.8 percent) below November projections, and FY 2021 revenues are now projected to come in $445 million (5.8 percent) below previous projections. In response to the new projections, Gov. Kelly has requested agencies freeze pay increases and most new hiring. She also announced an economic transition plan will be released in early May.
Kansas has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15 and is giving taxpayers until October 15 to apply for homestead and property tax relief. On April 1, the Department of Revenue reported March tax collections only 1.6 percent short of projections. [Updated 4/23 with new revenue projections and announcement of wrap-up session postponement, 4/2 with March tax revenue details and property tax relief extension, 3/27 with budget developments and date of next expected revenue forecast, and 3/23 with new information about the budget, adjournment, and income tax deadline extension.]
Kentucky Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly, after canceling two legislative days in early March, went back into session March 17-19, March 26, April 1, and April 14-15. On March 30, a COVID-19 response bill was signed by Gov. Andy Beshear (D). That legislation declared an emergency, expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits, waived the seven-day waiting period, and codified the income tax filing extension to July 15.
On April 1, the House and Senate agreed to a one-year budget, which departs from the state’s usual practice of adopting two-year budgets in even-numbered years. The slimmed-down budget and revenue bills that were sent to the governor do not include most spending increases that were initially planned, although the budget does increase spending for certain programs dealing with the fallout from COVID-19. The revenue bill also includes a new tax on vapor products. Under this legislation, closed-system products would be taxed at $1.50 per cartridge, and open-system products would be taxed at 15 percent of the wholesale price. Gov. Beshear issued line-item vetoes April 13 to both the budget and the revenue bill but did not veto any of the vapor tax provisions.
On April 14 and 15, the legislature reconvened for its veto session. The General Assembly overrode all of the governor’s vetoes to the budget and revenue bills and considered legislation unrelated to COVID-19. Kentucky legislators had previously adopted rules to allow remote electronic voting, so many House members voted from their cars or offices, while senators employed social distancing practices while voting in the Senate chamber.
The legislature then adjourned for the year April 15 as originally scheduled, and lawmakers have no further plans to meet until January 2021, although a special session remains possible. When the legislature meets again next January, lawmakers plan to make adjustments to the FY 2021 budget and adopt a budget for FY 2022.
Kentucky, with one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation and one of the most depleted rainy day funds, was already facing significant fiscal challenges before the coronavirus outbreak. Kentucky has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15, but interest will be applied to deferred income tax payments. [Updated 4/16 and 4/9 with additional budget, vapor tax, and session information, 4/2 with budget and COVID-19 response bill passage, 3/27 with COVID-19 response legislation, 3/26 with new session information, 3/24 with income tax filing and payment extension, and 3/20 with new developments on the budget.]
Louisiana Legislative Session Updates
Louisiana on March 16 suspended its session until March 31. When legislators briefly met that day, they decided to suspend the session indefinitely. When they return, they will need to pass a budget for FY 2021. The legislature will likely meet for a special session following the planned June 1 adjournment date.
On April 17 the legislature announced the creation of the Louisiana Legislative Advisory Task Force on Economic Recovery to give recommendations for strengthening and rebuilding Louisiana’s economy in both the short and long term, following the coronavirus crisis. The Task Force will consist of business leaders from a variety of industries.
The Department of Revenue released guidance postponing February’s filing and payment deadline for sales taxes until May 20. No extension request is necessary to take advantage of the new deadline. Louisiana is among a handful of states that does not follow the typical April 15 federal tax filing deadline but instead has its own separate state filing deadline, which is typically May 15. On March 19, Louisiana announced that impacted businesses will have until May 20 to file and pay excise taxes otherwise due March 20. On March 23, Louisiana announced extending its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15. Sales tax deadlines appear to be extended as well.
The Pelican state saw a large surplus this fiscal year and thus will likely end the fiscal year with a balanced budget, but forecasters estimate that state revenue for the upcoming fiscal year will see a $500 million decrease. In an effort to give relief to residents, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Treasury plan to work together to send out $4 million in unclaimed property checks, which include things like interest payments, utility deposits, and payroll checks. [Updated 4/23 with information on the Advisory Task Force, 4/16 with session information, 4/9 with information on unclaimed property, 4/2 with session information, 3/27 with revenue information, 3/26 with excise payment extension, 3/25 with income tax filing and payment extension, and 3/20 to mention sales tax filing and payment extension.]
Maine Legislative Session Updates
The legislature adjourned March 17, nearly a month earlier than scheduled, with plans to return later this year, although no date has been set. Lawmakers agreed to an approximately $76 million supplemental budget that includes an additional $1 million for the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and adds $17.4 million to the budget stabilization fund. Maine is operating under a two-year budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 so has no immediate need to consider further budgetary measures this year. On March 26, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced Maine’s income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15. [Updated 3/26 with income tax extension and 3/20 with new details about the supplemental budget.]
Maryland Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly adjourned March 18, three weeks earlier than scheduled, after passing a $47.9 billion state operating budget and a $440 million revenue plan to fund education reforms and emergency responses to the coronavirus outbreak. The revenue plan includes major tax changes, including a first-in-the-nation attempt at taxing digital advertising and an increase in the cigarette excise taxAn excise tax is a tax imposed on a specific good or activity. Excise taxes are commonly levied on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soda, gasoline, insurance premiums, amusement activities, and betting, and typically make up a relatively small and volatile portion of state and local and, to a lesser extent, federal tax collections. from $2.00 to $3.75 per pack. Along with the bill implementing the digital advertising tax and increases to the tobacco excise tax (HB732), the budget bill (SB190) has been sent to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for his signature or veto. The vaguely worded, legally dubious digital advertising tax is expected to be vetoed by Gov. Hogan, but the current vote tally on that measure is enough to override a veto. Any special session to override a veto is unlikely to occur until later this year. The revenue plan would also extend unemployment insurance to those quarantined or who have been laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, Gov. Hogan has already signed legislation allowing the state to tap up to $50 million from its rainy day fund.
Maryland is among the states conforming its individual and corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. filing and payment deadlines with the federal government, thereby extending them to July 15. In addition, the March, April, and May filing and remittance deadlines for several business taxes have been extended to July 15 after initially being extended to June 1. These include sales and use taxes, withholding taxes, admissions and amusement taxes, and alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel excise taxes, among others.
On April 10, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced the state will likely see a revenue shortfall of approximately $2.8 billion for FY 2020, representing a nearly 15 percent decline in general fund revenue. [Updated 4/23 with budget shortfall estimate and information about a possible special session, 4/16 with additional extension of the due date for various business taxes, 4/9 with budget information, and 3/26 and 3/23 with tax filing extensions.]
Massachusetts Legislative Session Updates
The legislature, which is scheduled to meet through July 31, is currently still in session but has taken precautions to limit close interaction among members by conducting smaller informal meetings and electronic committee hearings. Legislators and staff conducting legislative business in the House and Senate chambers are doing so while wearing protective face masks, committee hearings are being conducted electronically, and votes have been taken by voice vote instead of by roll call vote.
On March 18, the House and Senate passed a bill from Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speeding up unemployment payments to those quarantined or laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Baker also announced the state will distribute $5 million in emergency funds for localities impacted by the outbreak. A budget bill for FY 2021 has not yet been introduced. Normally, the House introduces its budget bill in April, but those plans have been delayed.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue announced sales tax filing and remittance deadline extensions for businesses that paid less than $150,000 in sales and use taxes for the 12-month period ending February 29. The state is also waiving penalties for late filing and payment of meals taxes and room occupancy taxes due between March 20 and May 31, although interest will continue to accrue. The deadline for filing and payment of such taxes is now June 20 for qualifying businesses. Marketplace facilitators are not eligible for the extension. On March 27, Gov. Baker announced extension of the income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15. The governor has also signed into law a measure that allows local tax authorities to extend their property tax payment, exemption, and deferral deadlines. While corporate excise tax payments and filings were due April 15, the Department of Revenue has said it will waive penalties for those who file and pay by July 15. [Updated 4/23 with waiver of corporate excise tax late penalties, 4/16 with property tax extension allowance, 4/9 with session and budget information, 3/27 with income tax filing extension, 3/26 with legislative session details, 3/25 with marketplace facilitator information, and 3/24 with relief for certain businesses.]
Michigan Legislative Session Updates
The Michigan legislature, which meets throughout the year, plans to meet on an as-needed basis to consider the budget and other priorities. Both chambers canceled their meeting on March 25, and, after initially planning to reconvene April 1, pushed back their next meeting day to April 7. On April 7, both chambers voted to extend the state of emergency, but they did not vote on any fiscal changes.
On March 17, lawmakers approved $125 million in emergency coronavirus response funding. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) also signed a bill to expand unemployment insurance benefits for those facing job loss or suspension due to the virus. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim Stamas (R) has called for the state to transfer non-essential state employees to take calls on unemployment insurance claims, or to lay them off if they cannot assist in order to help the state’s budget woes. And the state is following through on that suggestion, announcing on April 21 that it was temporarily laying off at least 2,900 employees, saving the state about $5 million.
The Michigan Department of Treasury initially extended the deadline for sales and use tax payments from March 20 to April 20 but on April 14 further extended the deadline to May 20. The governor also issued an executive order extending the tax foreclosure deadline from March 31 to May 29 for properties with delinquent tax payments. Additionally, state and local income tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended to July 15. For taxpayers needing to make estimated income tax payments for 2020, the first-quarter payment deadline of April 15 has been extended to July 15, but the due date for the second quarter payment remains June 15, meaning second-quarter payments will be due before first-quarter payments. [Updated 4/23 with information on state layoffs and estimated income tax payments, 4/16 with budget information and information on additional sales tax extension, 4/8 and 4/2 with session information, 3/30 with income tax deadline extension, 3/27 with income tax deadline information, 3/25 with session change, and 3/20 with information on extension of tax foreclosure deadline.]
Minnesota Legislative Session Updates
The Minnesota legislature suspended its legislative session March 17, taking its spring recess three weeks earlier than planned. Before adjourning, legislators added an additional $50 million in emergency funding to the $21 million supplemental appropriation for state health agencies that was signed March 10. The legislature sent a bill to Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) that appropriates $330 million to the state’s COVID-19 emergency fund for efforts against the virus and loans to businesses and tribes. Budget writers project that both the budget surplus and rainy day fund will be exhausted over the next two years due to the virus and the state’s response.
Legislators resumed session as previously scheduled April 14 and passed another COVID-19 legislative package that includes remote meeting allowances and revenue forecast adjustments. Minnesota is operating under a two-year biennial budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue has issued a sales tax remittance extension for March and April’s monthly payments. For qualifying businesses, the March 20 and April 20 payments are now due May 20, although all businesses must file their returns by the original due dates even if they defer payment. The Department also announced individuals have until July 15 to file and pay their state income taxes. Minnesota’s tax collections for March came in $62 million, or 3.8 percent, below projections. [Updated 4/23 with additional sales tax payment extension, 4/16 with legislative package and further sales tax extensions, 3/27 with COVID-19 funding, 3/26 with emergency fund appropriation and budget projections, 3/24 with income tax extension, and 3/20 with sales tax deferral information.]
Mississippi Legislative Session Updates
Legislators voted March 17 and 18 to suspend the legislative session until April 1 or a day agreed upon by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house. Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann (R) and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R) later agreed to suspend Mississippi’s legislative session indefinitely. Legislative leaders have said they do not expect to pass a state budget until June.
Mississippi’s rainy day fund is filled to its statutory limit of $554 million, but some have voiced concerns about whether that is enough funding for times of true economic hardship. The state has extended its individual and corporate income tax filing and payment deadline to May 15. The Department of Revenue has stated it cannot extend the deadline beyond the end of the fiscal year while still retaining a balanced budget at the fiscal year’s end, as is required by law. While sales and use tax filing deadlines have not changed, the Department has announced that interest and penalties will not apply to late payments for as long as the national emergency remains in effect.
The Department has announced income tax withholding requirements will be based on employees’ normal work location, not their temporary telework location. This is necessary to ensure businesses do not become exposed, by virtue of teleworking employees, to income tax liability in states for which they would otherwise lack nexus. [Updated 4/23 with budget consideration timeline, 4/9 with session information, 4/2 with teleworking comments, 3/27 with sales tax information, 3/26 with new rainy day fund information, and 3/25 with income tax filing deadline extension.]
Missouri Legislative Session Updates
Missouri’s legislative spring break, originally scheduled for March 23-27, started a week early in the Senate and on March 19 in the House. The House had initially planned to pass its FY 2021 budget before the spring recess but ultimately did not do so. However, on March 19, the House passed a supplemental budget package for FY 2020. An amended version of this supplemental budget was approved by both chambers on April 8 and was signed by Gov. Mike Parson (R) on April 10. The supplemental budget authorizes the use of $5.7 billion in federal funds, while appropriating nearly $247 million in state general fund spending, for COVID-19 response. On April 20, Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced a budget freeze of $47 million for the current fiscal year, on top of an earlier freeze of $180 million.
On April 27, the legislature resumed its session with social distancing measures in place. While the FY 2021 budget is the only other bill expected to pass this session, many expect a special session will occur this summer to work on other legislation that has not yet been considered due to COVID-19.
Missouri has extended its deadline for filing and paying individual and corporate income taxes to July 15. On April 13, the Department of Revenue announced that it was also moving the due date for second quarter payments from June 15 to July 15. (First-quarter payments were already moved back.) Partnership returns are also not due until July 15. [Updated 4/30 with resumed legislative session, 4/23 with session and budget information, 4/16 with signing of supplemental budget, session information, and filing information, 4/9 with supplemental budget passage, 4/2 with session details, 3/24 with filing extension and budget and supplemental funding updates.]
Montana Legislative Session Updates
The state legislature is not in session in 2020 and is operating under a two-year budget for fiscal years 2020-21. Many legislative interim meetings have been canceled. According to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, Montana has $115 million in its Budget Stabilization Fund, a general fund surplus of $300 million, and $360 million in Unemployment Insurance Fund reserves. Gov. Steve Bullock (D) has set up a 26-member panel to advise him on how to spend the $1.25 billion in funding the state will receive under the CARES Act.
Gov. Bullock extended the state’s income tax filing and payment deadlines for individuals, estates, and trusts to July 15. [Updated 4/26 with governor’s panel, 4/2 with budget status, 3/24 with income tax extension and 3/20 with information about Montana’s fiscal standing.]
Nebraska Legislative Session Updates
Nebraska’s 2020 legislative session was suspended for the week of March 16 but reconvened briefly during the week of March 23. The Unicameral quickly passed, and Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed, a measure providing $83.6 million in emergency COVID-19 funding. The legislature has again suspended its session indefinitely.
It is a non-budget year for Nebraska, but the Revenue Committee had sought to pass property tax relief legislation and an adjustment to the current year budget before the Unicameral’s scheduled adjournment date in late April. On March 19, Gov. Ricketts issued an executive order waiving late penalties for excise tax payors. On March 23, the governor announced the income tax filing deadline would be extended to July 15. [Updated 4/16 with budget adjustment information, 3/27 with COVID-19 response funding, 3/26 with excise tax payment information, and 3/23 with income tax filing extension.]
Nevada Legislative Session Updates
The state legislature is not in session in 2020, and legislative leaders have said they currently have no plans to go into special session related to the coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) has declared a state of emergency and ordered casinos, restaurants, and bars to close for 30 days. Nevada’s state sales taxes and gaming taxes account for 47.4 percent of the state’s forecasted general fund revenue for FY 2020 and 2021. [Updated 3/23 with state of emergency declaration details.]
New Hampshire Legislative Session Updates
After initially suspending its session through April 10, the legislature has further postponed legislative activities through May 10. Both chambers have passed emergency rules to allow normal legislative deadlines to be shifted, such as the requirement that all bills be sent from one chamber to the other by March 26. Gov. Chris Sununu has expanded unemployment benefits in response to the coronavirus. To mitigate potential administrative issues with an overwhelming number of people applying for UI benefits, the state has designated specific time slots to assist claimants based on the first letter of their last name. The governor has also given local governments permission to give abatements on interest for late property tax payments while the state of emergency is in effect.
On March 23, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) issued a statement saying the April 15 due date still stands for filing and paying the Business Profits Tax (BPT), Business Enterprise Tax (BET), Interest & Dividends (I&D) Tax, and Meals & Rentals Tax. However, on March 30, the DRA proceeded in extending deadlines for the BPT, BET, and I&D tax for taxpayers who meet certain qualifications. Qualifying taxpayers have until June 15 to file and remit payments without penalties and interest accruing. Most, but not all, taxpayers are eligible to take advantage of these extended due dates. Specifically, business taxpayers qualify only if they owed no more than $50,000 in total BPT and BET tax liability in tax year 2018, and individual taxpayers qualify only if they owed no more than $10,000 in I&D taxes that year. [Updated 4/9 with property tax information, 4/1 with BPT, BET, and I&D tax extensions, 3/27 with session update, 3/25 with UI benefits expansion, and 3/24 with DRA’s announcement.]
New Jersey Legislative Session Updates
On March 16, the Assembly passed a package of 29 coronavirus response measures, 26 of which passed the Senate on March 19. On March 21, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed 16 of those bills into law. The state has not yet passed a budget for FY 2021 but has extended the end of its 2020 fiscal year from June 30 to September 30. In anticipation of budgetary turmoil, the state froze $900 million of spending in order to prepare for emergency financial needs. On March 25, the legislature began meeting remotely.
New Jersey is one of several states considering borrowing from the Federal Reserve to cover a several billion-dollar budget hole, although borrowing funds to balance a budget was ruled unconstitutional in the state. Voter approval would be needed to change the constitution, and the Federal Reserve borrowing deadline falls before the November election. As such, Gov. Murphy has said the state should prepare for significant spending cuts.
Legislators sent the governor a bill (A.B. 3841/S.B. 2300) that would provide for an automatic state income tax deadline extension but would extend the due date no later than June 30, the last day of FY 2020. However, the state later announced that the filing deadline would be delayed to July 15. Legislators passed a bill on April 13 to codify the deadline extension, and Gov. Murphy signed the bill into law on April 14. The Garden State is temporarily waiving nexus requirements arising from residents working from home due to the coronavirus situation. [Updated 4/23 with budget information and signing of income tax extension bill, 4/16 and 4/2 with tax filing information and nexus requirements, and 3/27 with budget information.]
New Mexico Legislative Session Updates
New Mexico’s legislature passed a budget for FY 2021 earlier in February, which the governor signed, but a special session is being considered to re-address the budget due to the impact of the coronavirus. Lawmakers adjourned Feb. 20. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) recently vetoed about $150 million in infrastructure spending given the coronavirus outbreak. The state’s operating reserve is low, but before the extent of the coronavirus outbreak was known, the Tax Stabilization Reserve was projected to increase to $1.6 billion by next fiscal year. To access it, Gov. Grisham would have to declare it “necessary for the public peace, health, and safety” and both houses would have to approve with a two-thirds majority. In light of the outbreak, the state has waived for up to four weeks the requirement of “work search” to apply for unemployment benefits.
New Mexico’s income tax filing and payment due date is tied to the federal due date, so New Mexico’s filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15. On March 25, the Taxation and Revenue Department announced that taxpayers will not owe interest if they delay income tax payment until July 15; however, interest will accrue on delayed withholding tax payments. As of April 13, medium-sized businesses can apply for loans under the New Mexico Recovery Fund program, using $100 million in funding directed from New Mexico’s Severance Tax Permanent Fund. Senate Finance Committee Chair John Arthur Smith (D) has said New Mexico is facing about a $1.5 billion budget shortfall due to lost gross receipts taxA gross receipts tax is a tax applied to a company’s gross sales, without deductions for a firm’s business expenses, like costs of goods sold and compensation. Unlike a sales tax, a gross receipts tax is assessed on businesses and apply to business-to-business transactions in addition to final consumer purchases, leading to tax pyramiding. es and oil revenue. [Updated 4/23 with budget information and business loans, 4/1 with budget status and 3/26 with additional details about the extended income tax filing deadline.]
New York Legislative Session Updates
In March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed legislation dedicating $40 million to combat the coronavirus outbreak. The Assembly and Senate suspended session for two days but went back into session March 18, passing legislation requiring all public employers, as well as private employers with at least 100 employees, to provide 14 days of paid sick leave.
The Senate and House suspended their sessions in late March but reconvened March 29 and 30, respectively, passing temporary measures to allow remote voting during a declared emergency. When New York’s new fiscal year began on April 1, lawmakers were still in the midst of finalizing a budget agreement. On April 3, Gov. Cuomo signed the new FY 2021 budget into law, which includes a spending cut of approximately $10 billion to account for revenue shortfalls. The budget does not include any major tax changes, and it leaves existing individual income tax rate reduction phase-ins in place. The legislature is currently in recess without a fixed return date, but the state passed a resolution to allow the session to take place remotely.
The governor’s office estimates the coronavirus situation will cost the state up to $15 billion in revenue in the upcoming fiscal year. The governor has transferred budget authority to the Division of the Budget in light of the number of unknowns, as the Division can make spending forecasts and send revisions and cuts to the legislature to be acted upon.
New York’s income tax filing and payment deadlines are tied to the federal deadline, so both deadlines have been extended to July 15. The state is not extending its sales tax payment deadline, but is waiving late payment penalties. [Updated 4/23 with session information, 4/9 with budget signing, 3/27 with budget status updates, and 3/24 with updated information regarding fees for late sales tax payments.]
North Carolina Legislative Session Updates
The legislative session convened as planned April 28, with social distancing measures in place, and is scheduled to adjourn in mid-July. Many pre-session committee meetings scheduled for early March were canceled. In late March, pre-session meetings began being conducted remotely, including meetings of the new House Select Committee on COVID-19.
North Carolina is operating under a two-year budget so will not need to pass a budget this year, although budget adjustments may be considered in July or August. COVID-19 response legislation is expected to be the priority during this year’s short session when it convenes April 28.
North Carolina’s income and franchise tax filing and payment deadline has been moved to July 15. However, interest will accrue between April 15 and the date of payment in accordance with preexisting state law. The Department will also waive penalties for late payment of various other taxes due between March 15 and July 15, including sales taxes and certain excise taxes, if paid by July 15. [Updated 4/30 with information about session convening as scheduled, 4/23 with waiver of late penalties on various taxes, 4/16 with select committee, budget, and session information, 4/8 with session information, and 3/27 with session information.]
North Dakota Legislative Session Updates
The state’s legislature is not in session in 2020 and will not need to pass a budget until 2021. The state’s Chairman of Legislative Management is requesting that interim meetings be postponed, and that if they cannot wait, that the meetings would be held remotely and livestreamed. Mirroring the federal government, the state has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline until July 15. [Updated 4/9 with session information and 3/23 with filing extension.]
Ohio Legislative Session Updates
The House suspended its session briefly in early March, but both chambers have now resumed a somewhat regular, albeit modified, meeting schedule. Gov. Mike DeWine (R) delayed his State of the State address, which was originally scheduled to occur March 31.
On March 25, the Ohio Senate and House unanimously passed, and on March 27, the governor signed, legislation that extends the state income tax filing deadline to July 15 and changes the April 28 primary election to mail-in ballots only. It also codifies an executive order that temporarily waives the waiting period to qualify for unemployment benefits and the requirement that people seeking jobless benefits search for work. In addition, it grants approval to transfer money from the state’s rainy day fund for coronavirus outbreak relief as needed by Gov. DeWine.
As of March 26, Ohio’s unemployment insurance account had $1.07 billion in funding. When the coronavirus crisis began, the fund had only enough to pay benefits for six months (assuming an economic crisis similar in scope to the Great RecessionA recession is a significant and sustained decline in the economy. Typically, a recession lasts longer than six months, but recovery from a recession can take a few years. ).
Gov. DeWine on March 23 ordered a freeze in state government hiring, with an exception for positions directly related to coronavirus response, safety, and security, and direct care or institutional services. He also ordered agencies to cut unnecessary spending by up to 20 percent for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next. In addition, a downtown Columbus interstate highway project has been delayed by the Ohio Department of Transportation until next year because of expected decreases in revenue from fuel taxes.
The deadline for filing and payment of state income taxes, as well as for local income taxes paid through the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), has been extended by three months to July 15. [Updated 4/16 with session information and additional income tax deadline information, 3/27 with policy developments and new information on unemployment insurance and highway projects, 3/26 with new session dates, 3/25 with legislative developments, and 3/23 with governor’s hiring freeze.]
Oklahoma Legislative Session Updates
On March 16, both chambers passed legislation allowing the legislature to adjourn for longer than three days and to vote by proxy if needed. The House and Senate took an extended recess through early April, after someone on the floor had tested positive for coronavirus.
When legislative business resumed on April 5, legislators voted, through a series of three bills, to shift $500 million from the state’s rainy day fund to the current budget to fill a gap of $416 million caused by COVID-19 and declining oil and gas taxA gas tax is commonly used to describe the variety of taxes levied on gasoline at both the federal and state levels, to provide funds for highway repair and maintenance, as well as for other government infrastructure projects. These taxes are levied in a few ways, including per-gallon excise taxes, excise taxes imposed on wholesalers, and general sales taxes that apply to the purchase of gasoline. revenues. They also passed legislation giving Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) the authority to redirect state resources, while requiring that he notify legislative leadership if he moves more than $50 million.
Gov. Stitt did not immediately sign the rainy day fund measure or announce a budget failure, which is required before the state can draw from its rainy day fund. According to the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Gov. Stitt had said he would rather cut spending this year by 1 or 2 percent than borrow from the rainy day fund. While the vote tally was enough to override a gubernatorial veto, the Oklahoma Board of Equalization must officially declare a revenue shortfall before rainy day fund money can be accessed. The Board had been set to declare a shortfall April 6, but the governor canceled the meeting. However, lawmakers filed suit against the governor and the Board of Equalization, prompting the Board of Equalization to formally certify a revenue shortfall.
When the legislature met on April 5, many remained home but voted by proxy, and others took precautions to vote in the chamber in small groups instead of all at once. Both the House and Senate have put measures in place that would allow the session to take place remotely if necessary, but the House and Senate have remained in recess for most of April, with some committee hearings being held remotely as needed.
On March 23, the state issued an updated announcement postponing the income tax payment and filing deadline to July 15. Previously, only the payment, not the filing, deadline had been extended. [Updated 4/23, 4/16, and 4/9 with session and rainy day fund information, 4/2 and 3/27 with session information, 3/25 with income tax filing extension, 3/23 with extended recess proxy voting information, and 3/20 with income tax payment extension.]
Oregon Legislative Session Updates
The 2020 session adjourned March 8 as scheduled, but legislative leaders have said they will call a special session to pass a coronavirus response package when it is ready for consideration. The legislature formed a Special Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response, which held its first meeting March 18. The state has announced that it will follow the IRS in delaying income tax filing deadlines from April 15 to July 15. Quarterly payments for the new Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) are still due on April 30, but the Oregon Department of Revenue will not be charging underpayment penalties for companies that make a good faith effort to estimate these payments. The legislature’s Joint Emergency Board held a virtual meeting April 23 to allocate $30 million of emergency funding for housing, worker, and business relief. [Updated 4/23 with Joint Emergency Board meeting, 3/25 with CAT information, and 3/20 with filing extension.]
Pennsylvania Legislative Session Updates
The Pennsylvania legislature has not announced plans to postpone its session. Both the House and Senate are voting remotely and have passed several coronavirus-related measures, one of which provides $50 million of additional funds for health-care facilities. Pennsylvania has modified unemployment compensation benefits in response to the coronavirus by suspending the “waiting week” as well as waiving certain requirements. The state has extended its income tax filing and payment deadline to July 15.
The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) is anticipating a large reduction in motor vehicle sales tax revenue for the current fiscal year due to car dealership closures. Recent analysis from the IFO predicts total revenue losses across FY 2020 and FY 2021 under two scenarios due to the coronavirus outbreak and the state’s response. If the state’s economy remains largely closed for six weeks, the IFO predicts revenue declines of $2.7 billion. If the economy remains largely closed for a 10-week period, the state will face an estimated $3.9 billion revenue loss. On May 20, the agency will update these results when it releases its Preliminary Revenue Estimate for FY 2021. [Updated 4/16 with new revenue estimates, 3/26 with health-care funding and sales tax revenue information, and 3/24 with new income tax filing deadline.]
Rhode Island Legislative Session Updates
After initially suspending Rhode Island’s legislative session through April 14, legislative leaders on April 10 announced session and committee meetings would be further postponed to April 21. Those plans were further delayed, and as of April 30, the legislature’s next planned meeting day is May 5.
The House Finance Committee is planning to convene in the coming weeks, either in person or electronically, to discuss the state’s evolving financial situation. The state’s “May 2020 Consensus Caseload and Revenue Estimating Conference” is expected to convene as scheduled, although likely in a modified format, in late April. Rhode Island’s legislature meets throughout the year, and when lawmakers return, they will need to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Rhode Island’s revenue shortfalls have reportedly put into jeopardy the continued phaseout of the state’s “car tax,” an annual tax on the value of taxpayers’ cars registered in Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island Department of Revenue has extended the deadline for filing and paying various income, estate, and business taxes to July 15. This new filing deadline has state officials looking for ways to address budgetary issues arising from the income tax deadline being pushed into the new fiscal year. The state is looking into various options, such as short-term borrowing or transferring revenue between accounts. As a step in this direction, the Disaster Emergency Funding Board approved borrowing up to $300 million to shore up the general fund until the state receives tax revenue in July at the request of Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). [Updated 4/30 with session information, 4/23 with further session postponement and car tax information, 4/16 with scheduling of financial planning meetings and further session suspension, 4/2 with session information, 3/27 with revenue information, 3/26 with budgetary considerations, and 3/24 regarding filing dates.]
South Carolina Legislative Session Updates
The South Carolina legislature canceled a recess originally planned for the week of March 16 to vote on $45 million in emergency funding for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed the bill into law March 19.
On April 8, the House and Senate each passed a continuing resolution to extend current funding levels through the beginning of the new fiscal year in the event a new budget is not adopted before July 1. The House-passed resolution, which was approved unanimously, appropriates $180 million for COVID-19 response. The Senate made amendments to certain unrelated components of the bill before passing it, so the House will need to consider the Senate’s amendments. The Senate also passed a sine die resolution allowing legislators to reconvene after the scheduled May 14 adjournment date for specific purposes, including to address budgetary and COVID-19 response issues. After meeting April 8, the legislative session was suspended indefinitely.
South Carolina originally announced a deadline extension to June 1 for any tax payments previously due in April or May, but this was before the federal government moved its own deadline. On March 23, the state announced it was following the federal government’s example by postponing its filing and payment deadline until July 15. This announcement did not include sales and use taxes, which remain due on June 1, as per the earlier announcement. [Updated 4/16 with session suspension, 4/9 with continuing resolution information, 3/25 with sales tax note, 3/24 with filing extension update, and 3/23 with budget developments.]
South Dakota Legislative Session Updates
The legislature wrapped up its business March 12 but convened electronically for a veto session on March 30, which lasted into the early morning hours of March 31. Among the various bills considered this session was a bill the legislature passed to create a $10.5 million economic disaster relief fund, which would give loans to help small businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus. The legislature will reconvene for a special session in June to re-write much of the FY 2021 budget that has already passed both chambers. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has said she will sign into law the budget bills already passed by the legislature but will hold off on spending new money, as significant changes will likely be made to the budget in June. [Updated 4/1 with session updates.]
Tennessee Legislative Session Updates
On March 20, Tennessee legislators passed a FY 2021 budget that scaled back many of Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) education spending priorities, instead dedicating $150 million for COVID-19 response efforts, adding $575 million to the rainy day fund, and appropriating an additional $30 million for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s response to the tornadoes that devastated Nashville and other parts of the state earlier this month. After passing the budget, legislators adjourned for the rest of the spring but hope to return June 1 to tackle other legislative priorities.
The governor announced on April 6 that the state would give $200 million in grants to local governments to help cover one-time expenses. The Tennessee Department of Revenue has extended the filing and payment deadline for the Hall Income Tax (Tennessee’s tax on investment income) for all filers, as well as the deadlines for franchise and excise taxes, to July 15. Previously, the Hall Income Tax deadline had only been extended by those affected by tornadoes that hit the Nashville area. [Updated 4/9 with local grant information, 3/30 with Hall tax deadline extension, 3/25 with franchise and excise tax filing extensions, 3/24 with details on tornado-related tax relief, and 3/20 with details on budget passage and adjournment.]
Texas Legislative Session Updates
The legislature is not in session in 2020, but various committee hearings have been suspended that were scheduled for March and April. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared a State of Disaster, freeing up funding to respond to the coronavirus.
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has announced the deadline for franchise tax filing and payment has been extended to July 15. However, the Comptroller has decided against extending deadlines for the filing or payment of state and local sales taxes, hotel taxes, alcoholic beverage taxes, and motor vehicle rental taxes, among others. Texas does not levy individual or corporate income taxes but does levy gross receipts taxes on businesses. [Updated 3/24 with Comptroller’s announcement.]
Utah Legislative Session Updates
Utah’s regular legislative session wrapped up March 12 as originally scheduled after policymakers rushed to pass legislation that allows them to meet in later special or interim sessions, and by electronic means if necessary.
According to Deseret News, an online special session will likely be held starting April 15 or 16 to consider moving the state’s primary election from June 30 to August 4. During that special session, Utah lawmakers may also transfer funds to prevent the state from ending FY 2020 with a deficit. Utah follows federal tax filing schedules, so filing and payment deadlines are extended through July 15. [Updated 4/9 with special session plans and 3/27 with budget information.]
Vermont Legislative Session Updates
The state legislature on March 13 made the decision to suspend its legislative session until March 24 due to the coronavirus. Before recessing, the House passed an emergency response package to the coronavirus outbreak, but the Senate adjourned before taking up the bill. The Senate reconvened March 24, and the House March 25, to finalize the legislative package, which includes a temporary expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits. While the House was previously suspended, and the Senate was limited to convening for technical purposes only, both chambers approved temporary measures to allow remote voting until the end of Vermont’s state of emergency. The legislature hopes to have a preliminary budget bill in May or June to cover the start of the fiscal year, but does not expect to have a full budget for FY 2021 until August or September.
The state followed the IRS in moving income tax filing and payment deadlines from April 15 to July 15. The Vermont Department of Taxes has also provided temporary relief to businesses by waiving penalties and interest for late filing and payment of the Meals and Rooms Tax and the Sales and Use Tax. Instead of filing and remitting these taxes on March 25 and April 25, businesses may wait to do so until May 25. Chief Fiscal Officer Steve Klein has said these tax deadline extensions will result in a revenue shift of approximately $145 million from this fiscal year to the next. [Updated 4/23 with budget plans, 4/9 with session information, 3/26 with COVID-19 response legislative developments and 3/24 with filing extension.]
Virginia Legislative Session Updates
The General Assembly wrapped up its regular legislative business before states began to undertake robust responses to the coronavirus outbreak. Some legislators have called for a special session to enact emergency legislation in response to the crisis.
Before adjourning, the General Assembly on March 12 passed a $135 billion biennial budget that raised taxes to increase health care, education, transportation, and other spending by approximately 20 percent. On March 31, Senate Republicans asked Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to amend the budget given new fiscal conditions related to the pandemic.
On April 13, the governor proposed 37 amendments to the budget. Most of the governor’s changes involve freezing new spending (to the tune of $874.6 million in FY 2021 and $1.4 billion in FY 2022), including $71 million in previously planned spending on free community college and $80 million on college tuition freezes. Notably, the governor asked for new authority to borrow up to $500 million for the state and $250 million for localities, to withhold more than 15 percent of allocated funds during a budget shortfall, and to waive interest on state tax payments made by June 1. The legislature convened for a veto session April 22, with most of the governor’s proposed amendments approved, including the suspension of nearly $2 billion in new spending over the next biennium and a four-month delay to a planned minimum wage increase.
In addition, the General Assembly delayed by one year a ban on “skill games” that was approved earlier this year. Instead, skill games will be allowed to continue through FY 2021 and will be taxed at $1,200 per machine per month, with the goal of generating $150 million for a COVID-19 relief fund. In exchange for temporary taxation, Gov. Northam promised to veto any bills that would further delay the ban.
Virginia is among a handful of states that does not follow the typical April 15 federal tax filing deadline but instead has its own separate state filing deadline of May 1. Gov. Northam on March 19 announced an extension of the payment deadline for individual and corporate income taxes to June 1. However, the filing deadline remains unchanged, and interest will accrue, so he encouraged taxpayers who could do so to pay by the original May 1 deadline. Businesses impacted by COVID-19 can request to defer their March 20 sales tax payments to April 20. The Department will waive penalties for businesses whose requests are granted. [Updated 4/23 with veto session and skill games tax information, 4/16 with budget line-item vetoes, 4/3 with correct income tax filing and payment due dates, 4/2 with budget information, 3/25 with filing extension and typical filing deadline, and 3/20 with income and sales tax payment information.]
Washington Legislative Session Updates
The 60-day legislative session wrapped up earlier this month. Lawmakers approved the use of $200 million from the state’s rainy day fund for the coronavirus outbreak, with $175 million of that going to the public health system and the rest to a special unemployment fund for affected businesses and workers. Some proposed spending has been pared back so that the state reserves can continue to grow.
The Washington Department of Revenue announced it will, upon request, provide extensions for filing and payment of taxes due during the state of emergency, which began February 29 and currently has no set end date. Filing and payment extensions will be granted to businesses for business and occupation (B&O) taxes and real estate excise taxes, among others. On March 24, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that licensee could request a waiver to defer payment of excise taxes for alcohol and cannabis, with late penalties waived. This policy is retroactive to February 29, and remains in effect until the governor lifts it or the Board rescinds the rule—whichever happens first. [Updated 4/23 with information about alcohol and cannabis excise tax payment extensions and 3/23 with information about B&O and real estate excise tax extensions.]
West Virginia Legislative Session Updates
The 60-day legislative session ended as originally scheduled on March 7 with passage of a budget for fiscal year 2021. The budget included an amendment dedicating $2 million in existing Department of Health and Human Services resources to create a Public Health Emergency Response Fund to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The West Virginia State Tax Department announced March 26 its income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15. [Updated 3/27 with income tax deadline extension.]
Wisconsin Legislative Session Updates
The Wisconsin State Assembly wrapped up its legislative business in early March. The Senate was previously scheduled to wrap up between March 24 and 26 but canceled its scheduled floor period due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, leaders in the Senate and Assembly agreed to call an extraordinary legislative session at a later time to consider COVID-19 response legislation.
The Assembly convened for a special session on April 14, followed by the Senate on April 15. While the session was held in the usual chambers, most legislators participated through electronic teleconference under a 2009 law that allows virtual sessions during times of disaster. During this special session, the Assembly and Senate passed a bill to authorize the use of federal aid from the CARES Act and allow the Joint Committee on Finance to allocate up to $75 million in funding for coronavirus response efforts. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Tony Evers (D) shortly after it passed the Senate. In addition to authorizing COVID-19 response funding, the new law allows local taxation districts to waive interest and penalties on late property tax payments if the payments are for taxes due after April 1 and are paid by October 1. Tax districts making such waivers must first adopt a resolution authorizing such action.
Wisconsin follows federal tax filing schedules, so income tax filing and payment deadlines are extended through July 15. Prior to the public health crisis, the governor had proposed depositing half of the current budget surplus (about $409 million) into the rainy day fund, with the rest dedicated to education, while legislative Republicans had proposed using some of the surplus for a $250 million tax cut. At an impasse, the surplus remains uncommitted. Without any action, by default, half of the surplus will go into the rainy day fund. The rest will go to the general fund and be available when the discussions begin on the next biennial budget next January. The legislature is scheduled to convene for a veto session May 12-13. [Updated 4/16 with special session outcomes and 3/24 to clarify filing deadline.]
Wyoming Legislative Session Updates
The budget session of the state legislature ended last week and the one tax measure passed was a 5 percent statewide lodging tax, estimated to raise $18 million a year. Both chambers also agreed to a plan capping withdrawal from the Legislative Stabilization Reserve Account, the state’s rainy day fund, at $150 million.
The District of Columbia (D.C.) Legislative Session Updates
The D.C. Council unanimously passed an emergency bill March 17, which took effect upon passage, allowing the DC Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) to offer tax relief to retail businesses and hotels. It also allows the Council to meet and vote remotely. As an emergency bill, it is temporary in nature, does not require the approval of Congress, and will expire after 90 days.
On March 20, OTR announced property tax deferrals for hotels and sales tax deferrals for all other vendors that file sales taxes on a quarterly or monthly basis. Hotel property taxes for the first half of 2020 are now due June 30, and sales and use taxes (for businesses that are not hotels) are due July 20, although the March 20 and April 20 filing deadlines still stand, and the May 20 filing and payment deadline (for the April sales tax period) also still stands.
On March 23, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced an extension in the DC income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15. This extended deadline applies to the filing of individual and fiduciary income tax returns, partnership tax returns, franchise tax returns, and any associated tax payments.
Mayor Bowser has also directed $7.5 million from the Contingency Cash Reserve Fund (4 percent of the previous fiscal year’s general fund expenditures less debt service cost) for purchases related to the coronavirus outbreak. The District also has an Emergency Cash Reserve Fund (2 percent of the previous fiscal year’s general fund expenditures less debt service cost). Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt says the rainy day fund is at $1.43 billion, equivalent to 60 days of funding in case of recession or other downturn, and there is a well-funded unemployment insurance trust fund. An extension also was granted for Mayor Bowser to submit the 2021 budget, from mid-March to early May, and that deadline was further extended by an additional six days, to May 12.
On April 6, the Council announced that it will have to cut over $600 million from the FY 2020 budget. The Council met virtually for the first time and passed legislation that immediately freezes rent increases until 30 days after the public health emergency’s end and authorizes short-term borrowing of $500 million. That legislation also includes $25 million in grants for hospitals. The next legislative meeting is scheduled for May 5. On April 21, the Council expanded the rent freeze to include commercial tenants. The Office of Tax and Revenue has announced it will not establish nexus, for corporation franchise tax or unincorporated business franchise tax purposes, based on employees temporarily teleworking in the District due to the coronavirus pandemic. [Updated 4/23 with budget extension and rent freeze for commercial tenants, 4/16 with teleworking and nexus information, 4/9 with planned budget cuts and rent freeze, 3/23 with updated tax filing and payment deadlines.]
Disclaimer: The above does not constitute tax advice and should not be relied upon for tax planning. If you have a question about tax filing or tax obligations in your state, please consult with a tax adviser.
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