Massachusetts will extend the state income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15, matching the new federal filing deadline, as the economy reels in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The delay is automatic, and taxpayers don’t have to file any additional forms to qualify for the relief, state officials said.
"In partnership with our colleagues in the Legislature, we are committed to providing this flexibility to taxpayers in a way that protects the Commonwealth’s strong fiscal footing that we have all worked hard to develop over the past several years,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement.
The move follows an identical federal extension, as well as widespread pressure to delay the deadline. Accountants who are unable to work face to face with clients during the tax filing crush had been among those in favor of pushing the deadline back, the Globe has reported.
"This extension will afford taxpayers additional time to file their Massachusetts individual income tax returns as we carry out the historic response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said in the statement.
State officials said Friday that legislation will be filed to finance the extended deadline, and authorities will implement administrative changes through the Department of Revenue. The bill will give the state borrowing flexibility to “manage deferred revenue this fiscal year and repay it in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, 2020,” the statement said.
Any taxpayers with questions can reach the revenue department at 617-887-6367 or send a secure e-message through MassTaxConnect, officials said.
“We are incredibly grateful to Governor Baker, Lt Governor Polito, Sec. Heffernan, Senate President Spilka, Speaker DeLeo and the members of the Massachusetts Legislature for their leadership on this important issue," Amy Pitter, chief executive of the Massachusetts Society of CPAs, said in a statement.
“The tax season is a demanding time for every practitioner in any given year, but particularly so during times of crisis. This extension provides much needed relief to our members and to the millions of taxpayers they represent and acknowledges the work they do is critically important to our local economy,” she said. "We look forward to working with our government leaders once we begin rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”
“Anything the Governor can do to help people keep more of their money at this time should be applauded. By extending the deadline to mirror the Federal level, people will have more funds now to pay for essential costs in these trying times. This will end up saving the state money in the long term,” Paul D. Craney, spokeman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, said in a statement.
The virus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened more than 550,000 people and killed more than 25,000 worldwide. In the United States, nearly 86,000 people have been sickened and more than 1,300 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In Massachusetts, the death toll rose to 25 on Thursday.
In some people, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and it can be deadly.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. The vast majority of people recover.