- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 24, 2021

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Legislation extending the tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17 for Idaho residents will be among lawmakers’ top priorities for when they return to work on April 6, a high-ranking state senator said.

Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Chuck Winder said this week that he expects the Senate and House to expedite legislation to delay Idaho’s tax deadline a month to match the federal tax deadline.

“I’m hopeful that we can get back and get it done as quickly as possible,” he said, adding that lawmakers have numerous tools such as suspending rules to speed bills through both the House and Senate.

“We could have it actually through in a three-day period,” he said.

The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it has delayed the traditional tax filing deadline until May 17.

The move provides more breathing room for taxpayers and the IRS to cope with changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

Legislation was introduced last week in Idaho’s House to make the change for Idaho taxpayers. But the Legislature shut down a day later on Friday after six of the 70 House members tested positive for COVID-19 within a week.

Shortly after the shutdown, the Idaho State Tax Commission issued a statement saying that the state’s filing deadline is still April 15 and that it will be up to the Legislature to change it when it reconvenes.

Besides the House bill to extend the deadline, the Senate has also prepared similar legislation, Winder said.

“I’m sure there are lots of tax preparers and taxpayers waiting,” he said.

The federal extension gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent tax law changes. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the latest coronavirus relief package, excludes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from federal taxes for those making less than $150,000.

In 2020, the IRS postponed the traditional April 15 filing deadline until July 15 due to the pandemic. But Idaho only extended the tax deadline to June 15 because the state’s fiscal year ends on June 30.

Idaho State Tax Commission spokeswoman Renee Eymann said the agency was prepared to react if the deadline is extended this year.

“The same thing happened last year, and we just adjust,” she said.

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