BOISE — The Idaho Tax Commission voted March 25 to delay Idaho’s tax deadline by a month to match the new later federal tax deadline.

The commission voted unanimously to extend the state’s deadline from April 15 to May 17 after Republican Gov. Brad Little told the commission, an executive branch agency that operates under the guidance of the governor, to hold a special meeting and extend the deadline.

The Internal Revenue Service announced a delay of the traditional federal tax filing deadline to help taxpayers “navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic.” Legislation had been introduced in Idaho’s House to make the change for state taxpayers. But the Legislature shut down after six of the 70 House members tested positive for COVID-19 within a week. The Legislature is not scheduled to meet again until April 6, which created a tight schedule for lawmakers to extend the deadline.

Shortly after the Legislature shut down, the Idaho State Tax Commission issued a statement saying that the state’s filing deadline was still April 15 and that it would be up to the Legislature to change it when it reconvened. But last week’s decision by the tax commission means the Legislature no longer needs to act.

“It’s unfortunate the Legislature had to adjourn when they did,” said Tax Commissioner Janet Moyle.

The tax commission has the authority to unilaterally take action and extend the deadline under a section of Idaho law involving declared disasters like the coronavirus pandemic.

“I appreciate the Tax Commission and the Idaho Legislature for prioritizing the actions needed to ease the burden on Idahoans in preparing their taxes this year,” Little said in a statement.

The federal extension to May 17 gives the IRS time to issue guidance on recent tax law changes. 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.

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