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March 27, 2020

State to postpone April 15 tax deadline

Photo | Courtesy The Massachusetts State House

The April 15 deadline for filing state income tax returns will be postponed until July 15 under a deal announced Friday between Gov. Charlie Baker and legislative leaders.

The change, which requires legislation, means the state tax deadline will now align with the new federal tax deadline, which was postponed last week by Internal Revenue Service.

"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," Baker said in a statement announcing the agreement.

Conservative groups like the Pioneer Institute and the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, along with the Massachusetts Society of Certified Professional Accountants, have been calling for days for the state to delay the tax filing deadline, and give filers and tax preparers clarity on what will be expected of them. As of Wednesday, 21 states had already postponed their tax filing deadlines, including 17 that had pushed back to July 15.

State budget writers, however, had concern about what a July deadline would mean for tax collections this fiscal year, and the state's ability to continue to meet its financial obligations. The Executive Office of Administration and Finance had told legislative leaders that the revenue hit for the final three months of fiscal 2020 could be between $2 billion and $3.5 billion. Baker said he would be filing legislation to postpone the tax deadline that would also request borrowing authority to maintain adequate cash flow, and repay the debt in fiscal 2021 when the deferred taxes are collected. 

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