Mississippi Department of Revenue Issues Updated COVID-19 Guidance, Extended Deadlines, Telework Nexus Forbearance

This afternoon the Mississippi Department of Revenue issued a notice containing updated information related to multiple extended filing deadlines and audit procedures. Among the changes are the following:

  • Income and franchise tax filing deadlines remain extended to May 15 (no change from prior notice)
  • Sales and use tax return filing deadlines remain unchanged, but interest and penalty imposition on any unpaid balances will be extended during any period covered by the presidentially declared national emergency
  • Homestead exemption applications are extended until May 1
  • Tax sale deadlines in Amite, Quitman and Sunflower counties are extended until May 4
  • Personal property renditions are extended until May 1; the mandatory 10% penalty will also be extended until that date
    • NOTE: the notice does not address deadlines for filing free port warehouse license applications, inventory reports, and reports of inventory movement, so taxpayers should assume normal March 31 deadlines still apply; as noted in our prior newsletter, failure to file these reports by that deadline could result in a loss of the exemption for the current tax year per prior Attorney General opinions
  • The deadline for local tax assessors to furnish real and personal property tax rolls to the boards of supervisors has been extended by thirty (30) days
    • NOTE: it is unclear at this time whether the normal August deadline for filing ad valorem tax objections will be similarly extended
  • Affordable rental housing owners have until April 15 to provide statements of actual net operating income to the local tax assessors
  • Interest and penalty accrual has been suspended on all new assessments and prior liabilities effective March 15; this suspension will continue until the end of the national emergency
  • The Department will continue to work its pending audits, but will agree to abate penalties and interest on any audits closed during the period of national emergency if the taxpayer agrees to settle the audit without appeal and pay the tax due
  • Withholding requirements remain unchanged based on an employee’s temporary telework location, and the Department will not use any changes in the employees’ temporary work location to impose nexus or alter any income apportionment while those temporary telework requirements are in place
  • The Department must adhere to existing statutory appeal deadlines, but remind taxpayers that electronic filing is already permitted

Jones Walker LLP will continue to monitor these Mississippi filing issues and will update as additional information is made available.

Assessors Extend LAT Filing Deadline Until May 1, 2020

On March 25, 2020, Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams extended the deadline to file LAT 5 forms until May 1, 2020.  Similarly, Randy Sexton, Assessor of Iberville Parish, also extended the LAT 5 deadine until May 1st.  Wendy Aguillard, Assessor of Calcasieu Parish, extended the due date for all LAT forms, including LAT 5 forms, until May 1, 2020. Under applicable state law, LAT forms are due on April 1st of each reporting year. Every assessor has the statutory authority to grant a 30 day extension to file those reports.

The LAT 5 is used to report the vast amount of business assets, including 1) Inventory and Merchandise: 2) Fixtures and Furniture; 3) Machinery and Equipment; 4) Leasehold Improvements and 5) Consigned Goods, Leased, Loaned or Rented Equipment, Furniture, etc.  The normal deadline to file the LAT 5 is April 1 of each year. The LAT 5 form, as well as other LAT reporting forms, can be found on the Louisiana Tax Commission’s website under the “Forms, Reports, Regulations” tab.

Note that the extension for filing LAT 5 forms in Orleans Parish and Iberville Parish, unlike the extension is Calcasieu, does not apply to any other LAT forms. These extensions are inconsistent with the general rendition filing deadline of at least April 13, 2020, set forth in guidance issued by the Louisiana Tax Commission in the Statewide Advisory 02-2020. Also refer to our post from 3.25.20 regarding the Advisory.

If you have any questions about the due date of the LAT forms applicable to your business, it is advisable to contact the assessor’s office in the parish where your property is located.

Louisiana Tax Commission Issues Guidance on Hearings and Property Tax Filing Deadlines

Today, in compliance with Proclamation No. JBE 2020-30, which was issued by Governor Edwards on March 16, 2020, the Louisiana Tax Commission (LTC) issued Statewide Advisory 02-2020 suspending and continuing without date all LTC appeal hearings. The LTC will continue to meet telephonically to consider ad valorem property tax change order requests, tax sale certifications and similar matters.

In addition, the Advisory explains that JBE 2020-30 suspends the statutory April 1, 2020 deadline for filing personal property renditions with local assessors (for property owners other than public service companies) and annual reports of public service companies with the LTC to at least April 13, 2020.

Public service companies that file annual reports for public service properties with the LTC should be able to rely on the extension provided in the Advisory.

For all other owners of personal property that are required to file renditions with the local assessor, the best practices to follow are:

  • File your rendition with the local assessor on or before April 1, 2020; or
  • Request in writing (an e-mail should suffice) an extension of time not to exceed 30 days from the local assessor and obtain a written (an e-mail should suffice) confirmation of any such extension granted by the local assessor (La. R.S. 47:2324 provides that upon written request, the local assessor may grant an extension of time to file a personal property rendition of up to 30 days).

In order to avoid penalties, including but not limited to the potential loss of rights to contest the assessor’s determination of fair market value of the subject property, property owners must file the required renditions/reports on a timely basis.  Property owners must be vigilant every year, but especially this year, to timely file all renditions (local assessors) or annual reports (LTC).

US Tax Court Cancels May Trials

The US Tax Court cancels all May trials. The eAccess and eFiling systems remain operational and the Court will continue to process items received electronically, serve orders and opinions, enter and serve decisions, work with litigants, and receive telephone calls.

Please continue to monitor the Court’s website for updates and information. If you have any questions, contact the Public Affairs Office at (202) 521-3355.

In Response to COVID-19, Alabama Department of Revenue Extends Deadlines to July 15, 2020 for Filing and Payment of Alabama Individual Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Financial Institution Excise Tax, and Business Privilege Tax

Today, March 23, 2020, the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) issued an Order in response to the COVID-19 crisis confirming that the due date for filing Alabama state Individual Income Tax or Corporate Income Tax (collectively, “State Income Tax”), Financial Institution Excise Tax (FEIT), or Business Privilege Tax (BPT) returns and making corresponding State Income Tax, FEIT, and BPT payments due April 15, 2020, is automatically postponed to July 15, 2020.

For this automatic 3-month extension/postponement, there is no limitation on the amount of the payment that may be postponed.

A copy of the ADOR’s recent Order can be found here:

https://revenue.alabama.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SECOND_ORDER.pdf

Please also see the Jones Walker COVID-19 Disaster Prep & Recovery resource webpage for additional information regarding states’ responses to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, as well as other useful information relating to COVID-19.

 

MS Extends Income Tax Filing Deadlines to May 15

Mississippi extends income tax filing deadlines to May 15. This DOES NOT coincide with federal dates due to fiscal year restrictions.

In consultation with Governor Tate Reeves and our legislative leadership, The Mississippi Department of Revenue is providing relief to individual and business taxpayers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The deadline to file and pay the 2019 individual income tax and corporate income tax is extended until May 15, 2020. The first quarter 2020 estimated tax payment is also extended until May 15, 2020. Penalty and interest will not accrue on the extension period through May 15, 2020.

Withholding tax payments for the month of April are extended until May 15, 2020.

The extension does not apply to Sales Tax, Use Tax, or any other tax types. These returns should be filed and paid on the normal due date.

The extension also does not apply to payments on prior liabilities. However, the Department will consider an extension of time to file and pay on a case-by-case basis. These requests should be directed to our customer service line at 601-923-7700.

We recognize that our extension does not coincide with the federal extension. However, we cannot extend the deadlines beyond the fiscal year end of June 30. To do so would jeopardize the ability of our state leadership to balance the fiscal year budget.

-Mississippi Department of Revenue

LDR Issues New Guidance on Filing and Extension Relief for Certain Taxes Due March 20

The Louisiana Department of Revenue issued Revenue Information Bulletin No. 20-008 today to provide guidance on filing and extension relief for certain taxes due on March 20, 2020 and to provide other important information on matters related to COVID-19. The RIB addresses extensions for filing returns and paying February 2020 state sales tax and excise tax. The RIB also provides guidance on how Governor Edwards’ Executive Order 2020-30 affects assessments, audits, and litigation.

Beware Rigid Mississippi Local Tax Deadlines

The Mississippi Department of Revenue has been very active in informing the public of tax-related developments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  All taxpayers are encouraged to follow them on social media such as Facebook and Twitter as those appear to be their primary and most easily accessible means of conveying information to the public at this time.  While the Department has closed its district and Clinton offices to the public and is operating on an essential staff basis, it is still maintaining its call center (601 923-7700) and taxpayers can utilize the Taxpayer Access Portal which provides taxpayers the ability to transact most of their business with the Department online.

While the Department has the authority to extend certain upcoming filing deadlines for state-level taxes it administers, taxpayers should be aware of several upcoming local tax filing deadlines that are not controlled by the Department and that likely cannot be extended or waived under the current statutory provisions.  Considering that most businesses in Mississippi and across the country have begun operating remotely, these deadlines may present significant compliance and logistical challenges.

The following is a non-exclusive list of several key dates taxpayers should closely monitor because the statutes may not authorize extensions of those deadlines by the governor, the department, or any local taxing authority.

  • Ad Valorem Tax Renditions – Personal property tax renditions shall be filed with the local county tax assessors on or before April 1.  Failure to meet this deadline results in a mandatory 10% penalty per Miss. Code Ann. § 27-35-45.
  • Free Port Warehouse Exemptions – Miss. Code Ann. § 27-31-55 requires free port warehouses to file inventories and reports of inventory movement and not later than March 31 of each year.  Numerous opinions of the Attorney General have concluded that failure to file these reports timely results in a nondiscretionary loss of the exemption for the year, although it does not appear any of the prior opinions were issued in the context of a comparable emergency.  Nonetheless, absent authority to the contrary this statutory deadline should be treated as fixed and unwaivable.
  • Homestead Exemption Applications – Applications for homestead exemptions are due to the local tax assessors on or before April 1 pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 27-33-31.  The statute contains an exception where the Governor can extend this deadline in certain emergency circumstances, specifically when the courthouse or other place that the tax assessor’s office may be located is damaged to such an extent that it is not possible to accept applications for homestead exemption.  This exception, however, does not appear to be broad enough to encompass the current crisis.
  • Ad Valorem Tax Industrial Exemptions – Miss. Code Ann. § 27-31-107 establishes a June 1 deadline for eligible new enterprises to file applications for local ad valorem tax exemptions, and many counties have adopted earlier deadlines and requirements.

It is unclear how long current public health restrictions will be with us, but it is likely that most companies will not be able to resume normal operations this month.  Discussions are expected on possible options to grant relief to taxpayers who are impacted by relocations and office closures resulting from the pandemic, but most current governmental efforts are rightfully focused on controlling the pandemic.  The Mississippi Legislature has suspended the current session until at least April 1, however, so it is unlikely any statutory relief from these filing deadlines can be considered or enacted before many of these dates have passed.

Jones Walker will continue monitoring these deadlines and issues, and our tax professionals are available to assist clients with any questions or complications they may be encountering.  While many attorneys are working remotely, we are available to assist with local logistical issues related to these filings if necessary.

Louisiana to Suspend Legislative Session

As confirmed by a spokesman for Speaker Schexnayder, the Louisiana legislature passed resolutions to suspend its business until March 31. This comes after a series of increasingly tough restrictions on public gatherings and commercial activity were announced over the weekend, and only days after legislative leadership issued a statement saying they anticipated to carry on with the full session. With Louisiana surging to one of the highest infection rates per capita in the country over the last few days, public officials are now scrambling to contain the spread of the virus.

This puts a hard stop on all bills until legislators come back later this spring. Once they return, they will immediately begin working through a large backlog of legislation, including the yet-to-be-finalized budget. With increased costs due to emergency responses and decreased revenues due to the economic impact of the pandemic and low oil prices, the budget debate will be particularly challenging this year. As a non-fiscal session, legislators will have limited options on increasing revenues, but many will be looking to grab every dollar possible. This makes incentive programs like Quality Jobs, one of few that can be legislated in a non-fiscal session — potential targets.

The legislature might reconvene for an accelerated budget process and then adjourn, with a special session scheduled for later in the year to address remaining business (potentially including economic recovery). Should this be the case, there will almost certainly be a fight for control over the breadth of topics that can be covered. Both the legislature and the governor can call a special session though the legislature never has — and they will likely be approaching the call with differing priorities. A special session can last no more than 30 days, so whatever topics are included will have to move at breakneck speed.

We are working to plan for all scenarios and will keep you up to date on the status of the legislature as it changes.

Remember that these legal principles may change and vary widely in their application to specific factual circumstances. You should consult with counsel about your individual circumstances. For further information regarding these issues, contact:

Kevin O. Ainsworth, Partner, 225.248.2036

Logan Anderson, Government Relations Manager, 225.248.3434

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