Opinion

Governor Newsom and State Legislature Must Act to Extend Property Tax Deadline

It’s essential for tax collectors to be flexible, given the economic devastation that COVID-19 has unleashed on financial markets. Unfortunately, the San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office announced Monday that it can’t postpone the next installment of property taxes.

However, homeowners unable to meet the April 10 deadline due to the pandemic can ask for their late penalties to be waived. This is a difficult situation to deal with for everyone.

Our State Legislature is the only body able to change the April 10 deadline, but they’ve agreed to recess due to COVID-19 concerns. The Tax Collector’s office is unable to delay the date by state and federal law. Meanwhile, taxpayers are put in a difficult situation, having to provide proof that the virus impeded their ability to deliver the payment on time in order to avoid the late fee.

In fact, the IRS has already extended the tax filing deadline by three months, pushing it back from April 15 to July 15. “We encourage those Americans who can file their taxes to continue to file their taxes on April 15,” said Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. “Because for many Americans, you will get tax refunds.”

Calling on Governor Newsom and the Legislature to return to session (virtually) in order to push back this deadline could help thousands of citizens pay on time.

This virus has affected all of us, and we shouldn’t have to make excuses as to why. It’s evident in our emptied grocery stores, abandoned schools, and closed businesses: COVID-19 has changed our lives. Not all of us have the time to go through a penalty cancellation request, and the stress of not knowing if the request will be approved is too much of a burden at this time. But most importantly, California is full of small business owners and working-class families scrambling to pay rent for their homes or shops, with many out of a job due to strict stay-at-home orders.

As treasurer-tax collector Dan McAlister put it, “San Diegans have stepped up to pay what they owe when they owe it.” We always will, but it’s crucial in times like these to give taxpayers leniency so that they can pay their taxes in full at a more suitable time.

 

Photo by GotCredit via Flickr