It has been an unprecedented, exhausting week for many Iowans as we make immediate lifestyle changes to protect our families, workplaces and communities from the COVID-19 outbreak. Our jobs, schools, routines and plans have all been impacted.
As a legislator and fellow citizen, I am doing what I can to ensure this time of uncertainty is as short lived as possible.
I want to thank all our health care professionals and so many other essential workers for working and helping us all adjust to this new unprecedented situation.
I also want to thank state and local government leaders that are working around the clock to keep us safe. Our public health, public safety and emergency professionals deserve our strong support and thanks!
To protect public health, the Legislature on Monday voted to ensure that tools are in place to keep Iowans safe and that key government services will be available. We also suspended the 2020 session for 30 days.
Iowa Senate Democrats have established a webpage with emergency resources and information from key state offices, department and agencies at wp.me/p8aBRy-7oW. We will continue updating the page as new details become available.
Like you, I am now at home, doing my part to flatten the curve and save lives, as recommended by our public health experts.
But I am still working for you. I am here to help you navigate this difficult time. If you have questions, concerns or suggestions, please email or call me.
Most important, please take good care of yourself, your family, your friends and your neighbors. While we have some uncertain, challenging times headed our way, I know that together, we will get through this!
State responds to COVID-19
The state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is quickly evolving, with decisions being made and changes implemented by the hour.
The most important updates for Iowans will come from the Iowa Department of Public Health, which has been directed to take necessary actions to address the coronavirus outbreak.
Here are key resources on COVID-19:
- Latest Coronavirus Updates
- Resources in Other Languages
- Business & Organizations
- Communication Resources
- Essential Services Personnel
- Food Establishments
- Long Term Care
Links to other state departments and state agencies, their websites and social media can be found at directory.iowa.gov/social.
A public hotline for Iowans with questions about COVID-19 is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.
Legislature takes emergency action
The Legislature voted Monday to shut down for 30 days to limit the spread of COVID-19. This measure is prudent, given the how busy the State Capitol building is during session.
Before adjourning, we passed SF 2408, authorizing expanded emergency powers for the Governor to address the situation as it unfolds. Additional state resources, supplies, equipment and materials have been authorized to cope with the fallout from this public health disaster. Read a summary of what is included in this legislation wp.me/p8aBRy-7qk.
Public Health Disaster declaration
Tuesday, the Governor issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. Read our summary of what this declaration means for Iowans and the state.
Please be advised of these key provisions:
- Restaurants may only offer carry out, drive through and delivery. Dine-in is not permitted.
- Gatherings and events of more than 10 people are prohibited. This includes social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting events.
- Mandatory closures are in place for bars; spas, gyms and pools; theaters and performance venues; casinos and gambling facilities; adult day services and senior centers
Be sure to call ahead before going anywhere, as hours of operation, access restrictions and planned events may change at any time.
Important Tax Filing Information
The Iowa Department of Revenue has extended the filing and payment deadline for several state tax types, including income tax. The changes, prompted by COVID19, are designed to provide flexibility to hard-working Iowans whose lives have been disrupted. The changes are a result of an order signed earlier today by Director of Revenue Kraig Paulsen.
The order extends filing and payment deadlines for income, franchise, and moneys and credits taxes with a due date on or after March 19, 2020, and before July 31, 2020, to a new deadline of July 31, 2020.
Specifically, the order includes:
- IA 1040 Individual Income Tax Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1040C Composite Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1041 Fiduciary Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1120 Corporation Income Tax Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1120F Franchise Tax Return for Financial Institutions and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1065 Iowa Partnership Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- IA 1120S S Corporation Return and all supporting forms and schedules
- Credit Union Moneys and Credits Tax Confidential Report
What does the deadline extension apply to?
The tax returns listed above and any tax due associated with those returns if the due date is on or after March 19 but before July 31 of this year. The extension does not apply to estimated tax payments.
Who does the deadline extension apply to?
Iowa residents or other taxpayers doing business in Iowa who are required to file the Iowa returns listed above.
How are penalties and interest handled?
No late-filing or underpayment penalties shall be due for qualifying taxpayers who comply with the extended filing and payment deadlines in this order. Interest on unpaid taxes covered by this order shall be due beginning on August 1, 2020.
State income tax refunds currently are being processed at about the 30-day mark. Taxpayers can check the status of their refunds at the Department’s website where’s my refund page.
Taxpayers and tax professionals who need assistance can contact the Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the taxpayer services phone line at 515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388.
Property Tax Payments
This morning the Governor suspended any penalties and interest on late property tax payments that are due this month. Interest and penalties won’t start to accrue until after the Governor’s proclamation expires. Here is the language from the proclamation.
SECTION ONE. Pursuant to Iowa Code §29C.6(6) and 135.144(3), in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, and at the request of multiple counties, I temporarily suspend the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code § 445.39 and Iowa Admin. Code rule 701-75.3, that require the imposition of penalty and interest for delay in payment and direct that no such penalty or interest may be imposed for the duration of this proclamation and any future extension of this suspension.
Blood donations urgently needed
The ripple effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are having an immediate impact on the state’s blood supply.
Donating blood is SAFE—and right now, Iowa needs more donors! All healthy individuals are encouraged to donate blood. Book an appointment to ensure appropriate donor flow and social distancing standards can be maintained.
Find a blood donation location by contacting one of Iowa’s three blood centers:
- LifeServe Blood Center
- Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center
- University of Iowa’s DeGowin Blood Bank
6 tips to increase cyber security amid pandemic
As Iowans take precautionary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, it is also important to be mindful of related cyber security scams.
Cybercriminals are quick to take advantage of disasters and emergency situations by luring you into sharing sensitive information. State and federal public safety officials offer these six tips to protect yourself from malicious online activity:
1. Keep personal and financial information out of emails, and don’t respond to emails requesting this information.
2. Use extreme caution with email attachments and links if you have any doubt about the sender.
3. Access only trusted online medical resources to ensure the most current, fact-based information about COVID-19. Proactively visit the official CDC website at Coronavirus.Gov.
4. Visit official State of Iowa agency websites and social media accounts, including:
- TheIowa Department of Public Healthis the leading source for Iowa guidelines, testing and reports on case-related information.
- Governor Kim Reynolds’ Office is providing daily statewide coronavirus status updates.
- The Department of Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Managementcoordinates the State of Iowa’s collaborative response to COVID-19.
- The Iowa Attorney General’s Office cautions Iowans about coronavirus-related price gouging and fraud with an important set of alerts and recommendations.
- The Iowa Department on Aging is sharing recommendations and resources for protecting yourself and loved ones in long-term care facilities.
5. Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams.
6. Stay abreast of U.S. cyber threats to mitigate business risk. Review Risk Management for COVID-19, which is continuously updated to reflect emerging threats.
For more information, as well as how to report Internet crimes, scams or identity theft, go to dps.iowa.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-6-tips-increase-cyber-security.
You can request vote-by-mail ballot TODAY for the June primary
With many Iowans social distancing, now may be a good time for registered voters to request an absentee ballot to be sent to them by mail for the June 2 primary election.
Visit the Secretary of State’s website to start the process: sos.iowa.gov/elections/electioninfo/absenteemail.html