Sales Tax Fundamentals
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Sales and Use Tax Filing Due Dates Affected by COVID-19
byNovember 9, 2020
This post was last updated December 2020 and is being constantly updated as new states announce sales tax relief.
In the past, states have been known to give taxpayers more time to file and remit sales tax in the wake of natural disasters or other unforeseen events. With COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus) now officially declared a national emergency, we can be sure that some state governments will give taxpayers leeway when it comes to filing their sales tax returns.
A handful of states have already implemented a tax filing extension and released guidance for taxpayers. If precedent holds, more states will soon follow suit.
Sales Tax Due Dates Extended Due to COVID-19
Alabama will waive sales tax late fees for certain businesses unable to make their February, March and April sales tax payments on time.
Businesses eligible for the waiver include:
- Small businesses (defined as businesses whose monthly retail sales during the previous calendar year averaged $62,500 or less.)
- Businesses engaged in NAICS Sector 72 – Accommodation and Food Services. Find a complete list of business activities that fall into NAICS 72 here.
Late fees will be waived through June 1, 2020.
This relief does not apply to municipal and county sales and lodging tax. Requests for relief for state-administered localities will be reviewed individually and can be submitted to [email protected].
How to claim the extension? This is only an extension on time to pay sales tax. Taxpayers are still required to file their sales tax returns by the original state due dates. Important note: This relief only applies to state sales and lodgings taxes. Please contact non-state administered localities directly to see if they are offering similar relief. Contact for non-state administered localities is available here. Requests for relief for state-administered localities will be reviewed individually and can be submitted to [email protected].
Arizona taxpayers have reasonable cause for not timely filing or paying applicable transaction privilege taxes (TPT) to the Department of Revenue due to COVID-19. The Department has determined that COVID’s severe impact constitutes a reasonable basis for taxpayers’ inability to timely file and pay TPT, including county excise taxes and municipal privilege tax.
The Department has approved abatements due to COVID for TPT periods beginning February 1, 2020. The period eligible for abatement will continue until further notice by the Department. For quarterly filers, the period January 1, 2020, to March 30, 2020, is included. More information here.
The Department has issued a step-by-step guide for taxpayers to request the COVID-19 abatement.
California has, by executive order, pushed back the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19. Read the full executive order here, and the news release here.
Further, on April 2, the CDTFA announced that they were rolling out a monthly payment plan for businesses who gross $5 million or less in California revenue. Taxpayers will be able to repay up to $50,000 in annual sales tax liability in 12 equal monthly installments. You can read full details on California’s sales tax relief repayment plan here.
How do businesses claim the extension? When e-filing a sales and use tax return, follow the software instructions to enter disaster information. The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) will waive interest and any late filing or late payment penalties. Find full instructions on managing the California sales tax filing extension here.
If filing manually, on paper, the FTB has advised writing the name of the state of emergency (in this case, COVID-19) in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB that is qualifies for an extension.
Update December 2, 2020:
Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Temporary Tax Relief Provisions
The Governor will direct the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to:
provide an automatic three-month payment extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on their returns and extend the availability of existing interest and penalty free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales;
broaden opportunities for more businesses to enter into interest-free payment arrangements; and
expand interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions.
Colorado retailers that are required to file a sales tax return and remit sales tax on April 20, 2020 may extend their filing and remittance deadline to May 20, 2020. This is a one-time extension of the April 20, 2020 filing and remittance deadline for state and state-administered sales taxes.
However, a retailer that does not file the return and remit full payment on or before April 20, 2020 will not be able to retain their vendor/service fee. (This is otherwise known as a “sales tax discount” and is a small percentage Colorado filers get to keep for filing/remitting sales tax on time.)
This extension does not apply to self-collecting home-rule jurisdictions. If you collect in a home-rule jurisdiction, check with your local government to determine if they are allowing an extension on filing or payment time.
How do businesses claim the extension? Colorado’s extension is automatic and taxpayers do not have to act to claim it.
Connecticut sales taxpayers who have $150,000 or less in annual sales tax liability qualify for an extension on time to both file and pay sales tax. (Similarly, those that have $150,000 or less in annual room occupancy tax also qualify for this relief.) To determine if you qualify, calculate your sales tax owed for calendar year 2019. (TaxJar customers can easily do this in the TaxJar app.)
- For monthly filers: Returns and payments due March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are extended to May 31, 2020
- For quarterly filers: Returns and payments due April 30, 2020, are extended to May, 31, 2020
Read more in this news release from the Connecticut Governor’s Office.
How do businesses claim the extension? Connecticut’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act. However, the state will verify that you qualify (by having $150,000 or less in annual sales tax liability during calendar year 2019) and you will be notified in the event that you are denied the extension.
District of Columbia/Washington D.C.
The Washington DC Office of Tax and Revenue will automatically waive interest and late payment penalties for sales and use tax for all businesses (except hotels and motels) for periods ending on February 29, 2020 and Mach 31, 2020. All sales tax due by these periods must be paid in full by July 20, 2020. Any payments not made by this date will be subject to penalties and interest based on the original due date.
Important to note: Hotel and motels allowed to defer real property taxes under separate COVID-19 tax relief provisions are not eligible for this sales tax relief.
How do businesses claim the extension? This is only an extension on time to pay sales tax. Businesses must still file sales tax returns on time through MyTax.DC.gov to receive the extension on time to pay.
The Florida Department of Revenue will waive penalties and interest for Florida taxpayers who were adversely affected by COVID-19.
- February 2020 reporting period (Normally due March 20, 2020): Penalties and fees will be waived for taxpayers unable to file their February 2020 sales and use tax return by the March 20, 2020 deadline as long as the taxes are filed and remitted by March 31, 2020.
- March 2020 reporting period (Normally due April 20, 2020): Penalties and fees will be waived for taxpayers unable to file their March 2020 sales and use tax return by the April 20, 2020 deadline as long as the taxes are filed and remitted by April 30, 2020.
The Florida order defines “adversely affected” by COVID-19 as any of the following conditions:
- The business closed in March 2020 in compliance with a state or local government order issued in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and following the closure had no taxable transactions for the taxes listed above.
- The business experienced sales tax collections in March 2020 that are less than 75% of March 2019 sales tax collections.
- The business was established after March 2019.
- The business is registered with the Department to file quarterly.
You can read Florida’s guidance on sales tax extensions here.
How do businesses claim the extension? This fee and penalty waiver is automatic as long as businesses file and pay their sales tax due by the extended due date.
Round 1 (March 2020)
Taxpayers with sales tax due from the beginning of March 20, 2020 through the close of business April 30, 2020 will have an additional 60 days from the original due date to file and pay. Penalties associated with sales tax filing and payment during this period will be waived. Interest is waived from 60 days from the date the tax return was due, but if payment has not been made within those 60 days, interest will begin to accrue on the outstanding balance due on the first day of the calendar month after the 60th day.
Round 2 (May 2020)
In early May, Iowa announced that they would extend the relief program, with some changes:
- Only payments are deferred. This means that sales tax and withholding tax returns must be timely filed on or before the due date. If tax returns are not timely filed, the taxpayer will be disqualified from the program and late payment and filing penalties will apply.
- Each payment included in the new program is deferred for 30 days. Penalties will apply and interest will begin to accrue if payment is not made by the end of the 30-day deferral period.
- Payments deferred between and including March 20, 2020 and April 30, 2020 are still deferred for 60 days as indicated in the notice previously received.
How do businesses claim the extension? Apply here: https://tax.iowa.gov/COVID-19. Businesses who were accepted into the first round of the program do not need to reapply.
Illinois is providing “eating and drinking establishments” extended time to pay their sales tax due. Eating and drinking establishments who incurred a total sales tax liability of less than $75,000 in 2019 are eligible for the extension.
This extension allows eligible taxpayers to spread their February, March and April 2020 sales tax payments over four months, as follows:
- One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due May 20, 2020.
- One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due June 22, 2020.
- One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due July 20, 2020.
- One quarter (1/4) of the liability for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods is due August 20, 2020.
How do businesses claim the extension? The extension is automatic, but only extends time to pay. Illinois eating and drinking establishments are still required to file their ST-1 Illinois Sales and Use Tax returns by the original due date.
Additionally, Louisiana sales tax returns/payments that were due March 20, April 20 and May 20, 2020 are now due June 30, 2020.
Previously, the extension due date was May 20, 2020 but the state has extended the deadline to June 30, 2020 as of a Bulletin issued on May 22, 2020. The state’s bulletin also provides information and relief for taxpayers who have received notices of penalty.
Sales tax returns taking advantage of the extension must be submitted either by LATap or by paper filing with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
Read the original bulletin from the Louisiana Department of Revenue here. Read the latest bulletin from the Louisiana Department of Revenue here.
How do businesses claim the extension? Louisiana’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
Update: Louisiana has announced they will waive late filing and late payment penalties and interest for the late filing of any return or payment with an original due date between March 11, 2020 and July 15, 2020. Taxpayers must apply for the waiver.
The waiver applies to taxpayers:
- whose health was impacted by COVID-19; or
- who relied on a tax preparer whose health was impacted by COVID-19.
- If the taxpayer or tax preparer was diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 11, 2020 and July 15, 2020.
Taxpayers claiming the waiver must retain documentation showing the impact of COVID-19 on their health or the health of the tax preparer. The waiver will not apply to any tax return filed or any tax payment submitted after November 15, 2020.
Updated 11/2/20: Tax Holiday Enacted For Hurricanes
Louisiana has enacted a sales tax holiday to help citizens recovering from Hurricanes Laura and Delta and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tax exemption applies to the first $2,500 of consumer purchases of tangible personal property made on Friday, November 20 and Saturday, November 21, 2020.
During that period, a purchase is exempt if:
title or possession transfers from seller to purchaser;
a customer puts an item on layaway;
a customer makes a final payment on an item previously put on layaway; or
an item is ordered, paid for, and shipped but delivered after the exemption period.
Vehicles subject to license and title and meals consumed on the premises (or to-go orders) are not included in the exemption.
Purchases made during that period with rain checks are exempt. However, rain checks issued during that period which result in purchases after the tax holiday are not exempt.
Businesses with sales tax, use tax and other business tax due in the months of March, April, and May 2020 may now file and pay those tax returns by July 15, 2020.
According to a press release, “The agency has set up a dedicated email address — [email protected] — to assist businesses with extension-related questions. Business owners can also call the Comptroller’s Ombudsman at 410-260-4020.” Read the entire release at the Comptroller of Maryland website.
How do businesses claim the extension? Maryland’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
Massachusetts has announced tax relief on certain taxes, including sales tax, meals tax, and room and occupancy taxes.
All taxes due from March through the July 20, 2020 will now be due September 20, 2020. All penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived. This waiver only applies to time to pay. Sales tax filers must still file their Massachusetts sales tax returns by the original due dates.
Most businesses who paid less than $150,000 in sales tax plus meal taxes in the year ending February 29, 2020 will be eligible for sales and meals tax relief.
However, some businesses are excluded from this tax relief. They are:
- Marijuana retailers
- Marketplace facilitators
- Vendors selling motor vehicles
Read Massachusetts’ guidance for COVID-19 sales tax relief here. (Scroll down to #7).
How do businesses claim the extension? The extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts is extending sales tax relief for small businesses.
Small Business Extension
The extension includes taxes from small businesses due between March 2020 through April 2021 for:
meals tax; and
room occupancy tax.
Businesses that collected less than $150,000 in regular sales plus meals taxes in the 12 month period ending February 29, 2020 are eligible for relief for sales and meals taxes. Businesses that collected less than $150,000 in room occupancy taxes in the 12 month period ending February 29, 2020, are eligible for relief with respect to room occupancy taxes.
Qualifying small businesses will have no penalties or interest accrue during the extension period. Businesses that don’t qualify as a small business will qualify to have late-file and late-pay penalties waived during the extension period. However, interest will still accrue.
The Department of Revenue will issue emergency regulation and a Technical Information Release regarding this tax extension relief.
The COVID-19 tax relief extending due dates do not apply to:
- marijuana retailers;
- marketplace facilitators; or
- vendors selling motor vehicles.
Sales tax filing and payment schedule for certain vendors during COVID-19 pandemic: regulation amendment adds a new section which suspends return filing and payment remittance obligations for certain taxpayers during the COVID-19 pandemic until May 20, 2021 for returns otherwise due from March 20, 2020 and ending April 30, 2021.
Notwithstanding 830 CMR 62C.16.2(3)-(6), with respect to vendors whose cumulative liability in the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020 for returns required to be filed under M.G.L. c. 62C, § 16(h) and (i) is less than $150,000, returns and payments otherwise due during the period beginning March 20, 2020 and ending April 30, 2021, inclusive, shall be suspended. All such returns and payments, including any local option amounts, shall be due on May 20, 2021. This suspension does not apply to marijuana retailers as defined in M.G.L. c. 94G, § 1, marketplace facilitators or vendors selling motor vehicles. Such vendors shall continue to file returns and make payments in accordance with the rules set forth in 830 CMR 62C.16.2(3)-(6).
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Revenue website.
As of May 15, 2020 Michigan is waiving late penalties and interest for sales tax filings due from March-May as long as the sales tax is filed and paid by June 22, 2020.
Fees and penalties are waived for sales tax returns due:
- March 20, 2020
- April 20, 2020
- May 20, 2020
Read the most up to date notice from the Michigan Department of Treasury here.
Updated: Michigan is now offering taxpayers the chance to pay sales tax due on June 22, 2020 in installment plans. However, caveats apply.
How do businesses claim the extension? Michigan’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act. However, read here for more details and to determine how to take advantage of the Michigan tax payment installment plan.
March 18, 2020: Businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04 now have until April 20, 2020 to pay applicable sales tax. However, they are still required to file their monthly sales and use tax return by the due date on March 20, 2020. The grace period is only for monthly filers, and only for the March 20th payment.
Update April 10, 2020: Announced in a press release, Minnesota has extended the sales tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04 and closed by COVID-19. Businesses with a monthly sales and use tax payment due March 20, 2020 will now have until May 20, 2020 to make that payment. Businesses with a monthly or quarterly sales tax payment due April 20, 2020 will now have until May 20, 2020 to make that payment.
Read the original March 18, 2020 notice from the Minnesota Department of Revenue here.
Read the notice updated on April 10, 2020 here: Sales and Use Tax payment grace period extended to May 20, 2020.
How do businesses claim the extension? Minnesota’s sales tax payment extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act. However, businesses should still file their sales tax returns on time.
Businesses with questions or who wish for additional time to file can contact the Minnesota DOR:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 651-296-6181 or 800-657-3777
Unlike many other states on this list, Mississippi is not offering an extension on time to file sales and use tax. However, they have agreed to delay the imposition of interest and penalty on any unpaid tax balance for the period covered by the presidentially declared national emergency.
How do businesses claim the extension? There is no extension on time to file, but interest and penalty may be waived. Since the duration and time period of the national emergency is changing, we recommend contacting the Mississippi Department of Revenue if you have specific questions about this waiver.
New Mexico’s governor signed House Bill 6 into effect. This bill provides relief for New Mexico taxpayers, including those who pay gross receipts tax (aka NM’s version of sales tax.)
While taxpayers are still required to file their gross receipts tax returns due between March 25-July 25, 2020 by the original due date, they now have until April 25, 2021 to pay. Taxpayers who pay by the April 25, 2021 deadline will qualify for full penalty and interest relief.
How do businesses claim the extension? The fee and penalty waiver is automatic. However, taxpayers are still required to file gross receipts tax on time to receive the abatement.
New York taxpayers who failed to file and pay their quarterly sales tax return due on March 20, 2020 will not face penalties or interest if they did not make the payment. (Source) The original extended due date was May 19, 2020. The new due date is now June 22, 2020.
How do businesses claim the extension? New York taxpayers must visit this website and click “Request Relief” and then enter “COVID-19” in the subject line. Be sure to follow the directions to request abatement of penalties and interest.
North Carolina will waive penalties for taxpayers for the following tax related activities:
- Failure to obtain a license
- Failure to file a return
- Failure to pay tax when due
- Penalties regarding informational returns (Example: “Zero” returns)
This waiver period is for any taxes due (or tax obligations) between March 15, 2020 and July 15, 2020. Penalties will be waived as long as the tax is filed by July 15, 2020.
Read the full statement from the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
How do businesses claim the extension? As of March 31, businesses no longer need to request a waiver. The waiver is now automatic.
However, if a taxpayer receives a proposed assessment of a penalty covered by the relief granted in this notice, the taxpayer should contact the Department by phone at 1-877-252-3052, or by writing to the North Carolina Department of Revenue at: North Carolina Department of Revenue, Customer Service, P.O. Box 1168, Raleigh, NC 27602.
According to reports, Ohio has authorized the Tax Commissioner to grant extension to file sales and use tax, and to waive penalties and interest. For now, contact the Ohio Department of Revenue to inquire about an extension. We’ll update here when we get more information about the extension process.
Previously, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is waiving penalties for businesses that are required to make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) prepayments by the deadline of Friday, March 20.
Additionally, for April sales tax payments, the department is waiving the AST prepayment requirement and asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they have collected in March.
You can read the original Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s COVID-19 notice here.
Update April 15, 2020: On April 14, 2020, Pennsylvania announced that businesses who make Accelerated Sales Tax (AST) payments will now not be required to make those payments over the next three months. This means the department is waiving the AST prepayment requirement for April, May and June 2020.Under this new scenario, the department is asking businesses to simply remit the sales tax that they collected during the prior month. For guidance, read the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s updated COVID-19 notice here.
While Rhode Island has not issued any extensions on time to file or pay sales tax, they did announce that they will not cancel the sales tax permits of small businesses who have fallen behind on sales tax filing and payment due to COVID-19.
The Rhode Island Department of Revenue Division of Taxation will issue temporary 90-day permits to sellers who have fallen behind rather than automatically cancelling their sales tax permits on July 1, 2020.
Read more about Rhode Island’s temporary sales tax permit extensions.
How do businesses claim the extension? The extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
Any South Carolina taxes, including sales and use tax, due between April 1, 2020 and June 1, 2020 will now be due June 1, 2020. You can read the full press release at the South Carolina Department of Revenue website.
How do businesses claim the extension? South Carolina’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
The Texas Comptroller is offering assistance to taxpayers who could not remit February 2020 sales tax, which was due on March 20, 2020. The Comptroller’s office states that they will offer short-term payment agreements and, in most instances, waivers of penalties and interest.
How do businesses claim this extension? This tax relief is not automatic. Contact the Enforcement Hotline at 800-252-8880 to learn about your options.
The Vermont Department of Taxes has announced that sales tax filers who cannot meet March 25 or April 25 sales tax filing deadlines will not be charged penalties or interest. Taxpayers must file by July 15, 2020 in order to be eligible for interest and penalty relief.
How do businesses claim the extension? Vermont’s extension is automatic and does not require taxpayers to act.
The Virginia Department of Revenue will consider sales tax filing and payment extensions for the February 2020 sales tax return due March 20, 2020. They caution that interest will accrue on payments made after the due date even if an extension is granted.
The state later announced that they would waive interest for taxpayers who received an extension on their sales tax payment due March 20th, as long as the payment was remitted to the state by April 20th. Read more here.
How do businesses claim the extension? Virginia dealers should submit a request for extension by utilizing the secure e-mail system available on the Department’s website, by faxing to (804) 254-6111, or writing to the following address: Virginia Tax Office of Customer Services P.O. Box 1115 Richmond, VA 23218-1115
While the sales tax due dates are not changing, the Washington Department of Revenue has informed taxpayers that can request filing extensions or request penalty waivers if their filing is affected by COVID-19. You can read what the Washington Department of Revenue has to say here.
Updated as of April 8, 2020 (see the updated notice from the Washington DOR):
- Monthly filers can request an extension prior to the due date or within 4 days after the due date. According to the Washington DOR: If you miss the deadline for requesting an extension, request a penalty waiver when filing your return along with an explanation of how COVID-19 Pandemic caused the delay.”
- For quarterly filers, the Q1 Washington sales tax due date is now June 30, 2020.
- For annual filers, the Annual 2019 return is now due June 15, 2020.
Businesses can request the relief above by sending a secure email in their My DOR account or by calling Washington Revenue’s customer service staff at 360-705-6705, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How do businesses claim the extension? Businesses can request the relief above by sending a secure email in their My DOR account or by calling Washington Revenue’s customer service staff at 360-705-6705, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Updated as of August 5, 2020
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee has extended Proclamation 20-20 to provide further excise tax relief due to COVID-19. Therefore, the department will waive interest on tax payments from February 29, 2020 through the end of the emergency or September 1, 2020, whichever occurs first. Furthermore, the department will delay the issuance of tax warrants, notices of withhold and deliver, and revocations until September 1.
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue announced sales tax relief for small businesses.
- Wisconsin businesses can request to pay sales and use tax returns due March 31, 2020 by April 30, 2020 instead.
- Wisconsin businesses can request to pay sales and use tax returns due April 30, 2020 by June 1, 2020 instead
This is only an extension on time to file, not pay. Taxpayers are still required to by Wisconsin law to pay their sales tax amount owed by the original due dates on March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020. However, the notice from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue does mention that this might change if the Wisconsin changes the law to allow for late payments.
How do businesses claim the extension? This extension is not automatic. Businesses must request to file later by logging into your Wisconsin My Tax Account and clicking “Request Extension to File.”
Wyoming will offer sales tax extensions on a case by case basis. Read their release here.
How do businesses claim the extension? While the release does not offer any information about how to contact the state about an extension, you can find the Wyoming Department of Revenue’s contact information here.
We will update this post as more states release news about possible sales tax due date changes.
Meanwhile, check out this resource for more on the COVID-19 response in each state, including what counts as an “essential business.”
From TaxJar to you – stay safe and healthy out there.
Want help automating your sales tax? To learn more about TaxJar and get started, visit TaxJar.com/how-it-works.
As always, this blog is for informational purposes only and you should check with your state to ensure that you don’t miss a filing deadline. Also, check your email or mailbox, because states will likely send out communications to registered taxpayers regarding sales tax filing due date changes.