By Bob Katzen

Governor Charlie Baker filed legislation that would postpone the April 15 deadline for filing state income tax returns and setting a new deadline of July 15. House and Senate leaders have informally agreed to the extension so the bill should sail through the Legislature quickly.

“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.

“Taxpayers already hit with declining paychecks and retirement accounts should not bear the additional interest and penalties stemming from an inability to meet the April 15 deadline, especially when their inability to make those filings in a timely way is largely due to compliance with Coronavirus containment strategies promoted by health officials and governments at all levels,” read a press release from the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. “Additionally, given the current economic crisis, money that would be going to the state could instead be used for life’s necessities and work to keep the local economy afloat during the extension period until payments are due in July.”

“Nothing like keeping them in suspense, but finally, following the lead of the IRS and most states, it’s good to see some consideration for taxpayers finally,” said Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “With all the chaos and disruption people are suffering in their daily lives this delay was a no-brainer, or should have been.”

“Anything the governor can do to help people keep more of their money at this time should be applauded,” said Paul Craney, spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “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.”

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