SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Despite an emergency measure from the Trump administration to delay the federal deadline to file income tax returns for three months, your state taxes could still be due by the April 15th deadline unless Governor Pritzker takes action to mirror the filing deadline grace period at the state level.
The President announced the unprecedented step last week to give workers and companies more time to file their taxes during the nation’s frenzied response to combat the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. With several companies slowing or shuttering their operations in response to the global pandemic, the regular order of business has taken a back seat to emergency protocols as medical experts advise people to practice social distancing to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus.
Illinois is one of several states to enact a mandatory order to stay at home during a period of quasi-quarantine as public health officials continue to brace for the surge in potential cases of COVID-19.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) worried that important details surrounding President Trump’s move to delay the federal tax filing deadline might have been lost in the shuffle of recent news headlines pertaining to Governor Pritzker’s order requiring 12.7 million Illinois residents to stay at home.
“Your state tax return is predicated on your federal tax return,” Brady said during a remote interview on Tuesday afternoon. “It doesn’t give Illinois much relief, or accountants in Illinois much relief from that, if Illinois residents still have to go to their accountant to do their tax return for Illinois, which by the way requires that their federal return pretty much be done.”
During his daily Coronavirus press briefing on Sunday, Governor Pritzker told reporters his administration was looking at ways it could potentially push back the tax filing deadline, saying, “we’re working hard to figure out how we can do that.”
Two days later, Brady called on Pritzker to take immediate action to mirror the new federal tax deadlines.
“One of the reasons they did that was they wanted people to be able to keep distances,” Senator Brady said in a remote interview on Tuesday afternoon. “They didn’t want the person in charge of the books in the business having to work with the owner on it, and the owner of the business going to their accountant to get it filed.”
Without a delay at the state level, accountants could be exposed to “hundreds, if not thousands of clients,” Brady warned.
“I think any delay defeats the purpose,” Brady said. “The purpose is to not force accountants or businesses owners or individuals and the people who handle the books for those organizations to get together. Right now we’re trying to distance people to stop the spread, and waiting for this I think is not necessary. It’s an action the Governor could take.”
Pritzker suggested on Sunday that Illinois was waiting to see what aid might come from Congress before taking any action to push back the state’s tax filing deadline, since the cash-strapped state relies heavily on its anticipated revenues.
“There are challenges for the state of just cash flow,” Pritzker said. “We receive a lot of those revenues typically in April and they’re planned for spending related to those revenues that come in in April.”
“It’s not like we’re forgiving the taxes,” Brady said. “We believe the state budget could be managed under those conditions.”
“The feds can print money, Pritzker administration spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh said bluntly in a Tuesday phone call. “We in Illinois cannot.”