COVID-19 and taxes

Today Was Tax Day. What Do I Do Now?

Houstonians didn't have to pay their taxes on April 15, but they will eventually. Here's what you should know.

By Catherine Wendlandt April 15, 2020

The whole world has been upended by the Coronavirus pandemic, but hey, at least you didn’t have to file your taxes today. You still have to pay your taxes, of course, but now you have a little more breathing room. We rounded up information on the new deadlines for some of your taxes and payments on the local, state (just driving stuff in Texas), and federal levels.  

(Lost your job? Find out more about filing for unemployment here.)

When is the new federal tax deadline?

The new deadline to file your taxes is July 15, and you don’t have to apply for an extension to do so. However, if you are in need of your return, the IRS suggests you file sooner. Also, the federal stimulus payments are based on this year or last year’s tax returns, so if you want to see that government check dropped into your bank account, go ahead and file A.S.A.P. 

What about my Federal Student Loans?

On March 27, President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, which provides relief on federal student loans. Borrowers will not have to make any payments through September 30 this year—although you can opt to keep making payments. During this time, the interest rate is 0 percent on the following types of loans: defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans. defaulted and non-defaulted FFEL Program loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. Learn more here.

Statewide Deadlines

Driver License

The Texas Department of Public Safety has extended expired driver licenses to 60 days after the end of the state declaration of public disaster (Gov. Greg Abbott has extended the public disaster declaration through April 30). Your license will still be considered valid if it expired on or after March 13, and the current date is within those 60 days after the public disaster declaration has ended. This extension applies to expired disabled parking placards as well. 

Vehicle Registration

On March 16, Abbott waived certain rules regarding renewing expired vehicle registration and titling. Now, you have up to 90 days past your original due date to pay these fees and taxes.

Houston and Harris County Taxes and Deadlines 

Delinquent Property Tax Payments

If you’re on a payment plan for property taxes, you don’t have to make payments for April or May. The next payment is due on or before June 30.

Harris County Tolls

According to the Harris County Toll Road Authority, all tolls on county toll roads are waived through the duration of the local disaster declaration. But, unpaid tolls from March 11–24 are still due. 

Water Bills

While you should still pay your water bill if you can, Mayor Sylvester Turner issued an executive order last month that suspended water service disconnections through April 30 in the City of Houston.

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