Oklahomans have been given an extension until July 15 to file and pay their 2019 Oklahoma income tax returns, as the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the lives of many.

The announcement came after Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin announced last week that the federal income tax filing date was pushed back. According to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the extension is applicable to income tax due from tax year 2019 and the first-quarter payment for tax year 2020. Both of those would normally be due on April 15.

Dr. John Yeutter, long-time certified public accountant and financial planner, said it's a tricky time for people trying to get their taxes done.

"Even though I'm semi-retired, I'm still doing a few tax returns, and I'm trying to figure out how to pick up information and deliver information without that human contact that's necessary in such a private activity," said Yeutter. "All of us are saying, 'Gee, if we thought last year with the tax change was bad, this is the strangest tax year I've had in 30-plus years,' and I lived through the '86 Tax Reform Act with all those changes."

The virus outbreak has forced many people to stay home from work. For those losing out on precious income, a tax return could not come at a better time. And for people who might owe money to the government, the extension could provide much-needed relief.

"We pushed back our deadline, but individuals who are expecting a refund ought to be trying to find a way to get their taxes completed and filed, and get that refund," said Yeutter. "That's going to be good for their bank accounts and good for our local economy. I know that I'm going to owe a little bit, and this pushes back my deadline for having to pay the government, and that's fine by me."

The Cherokee Nation tax preparation sites are currently closed, and according to the CN Commerce Department, they will reopen them as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, people can have their questions answered regarding free online filing by phone at 918-453-5536.

People can also file their taxes for free online at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free, or can call local tax preparers and try to make arrangements.

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