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Bill proposes extended deadline to file state income taxes

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Arizonans could have more time to file their state tax returns.

A proposal from Sen. J.D. Mesnard would extend the deadline to file taxes with the Arizona Department of Revenue by two months, from April 15 to June 15. The Chandler Republican has encouraged Arizonans to delay filing their state tax returns until the Legislature approves a tax code to apply to the 2018 tax year.

SB1481 would give them even more time to do so. The bill would not affect the deadline for filing federal tax returns, which would still be due on April 15.

“It’s just for this year because now we live in the uncertainty of where we’re going to end up in the whole tax conformity discussion,” Mesnard said.

That uncertainty is the result of a spat between Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative Republicans.

The governor wants lawmakers to go along with his plan to pocket higher tax collections, which budget analysts estimate are sure to occur if the state conforms to certain changes in federal tax law. Republicans have balked at what they call a tax increase, and instead are pursuing bills to offset higher taxes.

The standoff culminated on Feb. 1, when Ducey vetoed a proposal by Mesnard to lower tax rates, a maneuver that would decrease tax collections by roughly $150 million.

As long as Ducey and his fellow Republicans are at odds, Mesnard said it’s only fair to give taxpayers more time to ensure the tax code is sorted out before they file.

The Republican governor and his party’s legislators appear no closer to reaching an accord. In fact, Mesnard said he’s moving forward with another proposal to offset higher tax collections by declining to conform six deductions in state law to the federal tax code. Those include deductions on state and local taxes and interest on home mortgages.

Mesnard cautioned that the governor can’t get his way without legislation approved by the House and Senate.

“I realize the governor has made a declaration, but a declaration is not law,” Mesnard said.

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