SALT LAKE CITY — For Utahns and taxpayers around the country, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in at least one big break — more time to file and pay their income taxes.
State officials are in the process of preparing for a Utah Tax Commission meeting via conference call Thursday to adopt emergency rules for filing deadlines.
“In those two actions, we would be extending the deadlines for both payment and filing to July 15,” State Tax Commissioner John Valentine said. “In fact, we’ll be matching up with what the federal government’s doing.”
The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the tax deadline that is typically scheduled for April 15 has been extended until July 15.
The extension includes any balance due on returns or the April 15 estimated tax payment. However, any June 15 estimated tax payment is still due on June 15, explained certified public accountant Jim Hoch with the Salt Lake City firm Huber Erickson and Bowman.
He suggested that taxpayers submit their tax information sooner than later, particularly if they are anticipating a refund.
Valentine noted that Utah has been processing returns.
“That’s important for people who are seeking refunds. Because right now, if you file a return and you’re entitled to a refund, you’ll get it sooner,” he said.
“We’re trying to process returns in the normal course of business. We’ve gotten a little slowed up because of the earthquake (and) because we have to have social distancing in our processing center,” Valentine said. “But we’re still making a pretty good turnaround time. We’re averaging less than a month from the time that return is filed until the refund check is issued.”
He said the agency is back to full operations following a short period of closure after the earthquake last week.
“We’re in the process of making those refund checks available to people,” he added.
Valentine noted that last year the state processed 1.3 million returns in total, with the number expected to be near that again this year. He added that this year’s income tax forms should be very similar to the previous year.
“There hasn’t been any major changes in the tax code that affected 2019,” Valentine said. “There was some attempts to make some changes retroactively to 2019 in refund processes and rebate processes. But those all failed when the (proposed ballot) referendum received enough signatures and the Legislature repealed all those changes.”
With health and social distancing protocols in place, taxpayers would have to make an appointment to enter the Utah Tax Commission in Salt Lake City, he added. Visit incometax.utah.gov for more information or call the tax commission at 801-297-2200, 800-662-4335 or via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.