CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 28: Coe College offers housing to St. Luke's workers

A mask rests on a bike handlebar as a man eats his lunch before riding home from the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids o
A mask rests on a bike handlebar as a man eats his lunch before riding home from the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, March 21, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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5:15 p.m. Iowa Department Of Revenue Provides Tax Reminders To State Residents

The Iowa Department of Revenue reminded Iowans Tuesday that some tax filing deadlines are approaching, even though some have been extended.

• Estimated Income Tax Payments — The Department has not extended the due date for estimated income tax payments. The first quarter installment of tax year 2020 estimated income tax for taxpayers filing on a calendar year basis is due April 30, 2020. Additional underpayment penalty relief related to certain 2020 estimated income taxes was recently granted in Order 2020-03. Information on estimated tax payments and this additional underpayment penalty relief can be found under Frequently Asked Questions for Estimated (Income Tax) Payments at tax.iowa.gov/COVID-19.

• Solar Energy System Tax Credit and Geothermal Heat Pump Tax Credit Applications — Taxpayers who installed solar or geothermal energy property in calendar year 2019 in Iowa that qualifies for the Iowa solar energy system tax credit or the Iowa geothermal heat pump tax credit must submit a complete application no later than May 1, 2020, in order to be eligible to receive a tax credit. Applications for both tax credits are submitted online at taxcredit.iowa.gov.

• Sales Tax Returns and Payments — Upcoming sales tax returns and payments are due as normal unless they have been deferred under the Iowa Small Business Relief Program. Applications for deferral under that program are still being accepted through April 30, 2020. Information about that program and the application can be found at tax.iowa.gov/COVID-19. View information about non-deferred filing frequencies and return due dates.

• Income Withholding Returns and Payments — Upcoming income withholding returns and payments are due as normal unless they have been deferred under the Iowa Small Business Relief Program. Applications for deferral under that program are still being accepted through April 30, 2020. Information about that program and the application can be found at tax.iowa.gov/COVID-19. View information about non-deferred filing frequencies and return due dates.

 

Recent Tax Deadline Extensions

Several important tax deadlines were recently extended by Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Revenue. This is not necessarily a comprehensive list of recent extensions. These recent extensions include:

• Income/Franchise/Moneys & Credits Tax Returns and Payments — The Director has issued Order 2020-01 which extends the deadline for filing Iowa Income Tax Returns, Iowa Franchise Tax Returns, and Credit Union Moneys and Credits Tax Confidential Reports with a due date on or after March 19, 2020, and before July 31, 2020, to a new due date of July 31, 2020. Additional information on income tax returns can be found under Frequently Asked Questions for Income Tax at tax.iowa.gov/COVID-19.

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• Property Tax: Board of Review Protest Period Extended — Any property owner or aggrieved taxpayer who is dissatisfied with the owner’s or taxpayer’s assessment may file a protest against such assessment with the local board of review on or after April 2, to and including April 30, of the year of the assessment. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Director has issued an Order 2020-02 to extend and include the time for filing a protest to the period from May 25, 2020, to June 5, 2020. This Order also authorizes Boards of Review in each county to remain in session until June 15, 2020. Protests may be filed using the Petition to Local Board of Review form. A taxpayer may contact their local assessor’s office for information on how to file a protest.

• First-Time Homebuyer Savings Accounts — Eligible taxpayers who opened an Iowa first-time homebuyer savings account in calendar year 2019 normally must complete and file an Account Holder and Designated Beneficiary Form 41-162, no later than April 30, 2020, in order for the account to qualify as a first-time homebuyer savings account. However, on April 24, Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation extending the deadline for filing these forms for taxpayers who opened an account in 2019 to July 31, 2020. Additional information on account owner responsibilities related to first-time homebuyer savings accounts can be found at tax.iowa.gov/first-time-homebuyers-savings-account.

• Iowa Educational Savings (529) Plan Contributions — Under normal circumstances taxpayers could elect to deduct qualifying contributions made to an Iowa Educational Savings (529) Plan between January 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020 (up to the contribution limit), on their 2019 Iowa income tax returns, rather than their 2020 returns. On April 24, 2020, Governor Reynolds issued a public health proclamation which, in part, extended the deadline to make such contributions and still deduct them on a 2019 return from April 30, 2020, to July 31, 2020.

5 p.m. Loebsack Applauds Regional Airport Help From U.S. Department Of Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced several grants for municipal and regional airports Tuesday.

Those airports include ones located in Iowa City and Washington. The grants are part of the CARES Act and are in addition to funding already received from the federal government to help provide direct economic relief caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Airports in our smaller towns play a critical role in fueling economic development in their communities and throughout the region, allowing them to grow,” said Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack. “During these times, when many businesses are shut down, the use of local airports have also dropped, creating financial hardship for those running the airports. I am pleased this funding is being made available to smaller, municipal airports to help them stay afloat in these difficult times.”

4:25 p.m. State Catholic Dioceses Say Public Masses Will Continue To Be Disallowed

Bishops of the four Catholic dioceses in the state penned a combined letter Tuesday in which they said their restrictions on public masses was not changing despite Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announcing Monday that public religious services in 77 of the state’s 99 counties could resume.

“In light of the expectation that positive cases of COVID-19 will peak in Iowa in the next few weeks, we have decided it

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would be most prudent for now to continue to follow the liturgical restrictions we have in place, including the

suspension of public Masses,” the letter said. “Without an effective vaccine or widespread testing and contact data that justifies a change in course, we simply are not at a place where we can resume our previous prayer practices.

“The suspension of the Sunday Mass obligation remains in effect statewide, and all vulnerable persons, the sick, and

those may who have been exposed to the virus are asked to look after their own welfare with the support of those

who care for them.”

The letter was signed by Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque, R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux city, Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of Davenport, and William Joensen, Bishop of Des Moines.

3:05 p.m. Coe College Offers Housing For UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Workers

Coe College and UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s hospital has announced a partnership in which the college is making housing to health care workers concerned about exposing their family and loved ones to COVID-19.

“We highly value our long-standing partnership with St. Luke’s. During this difficult time, we’re honored to provide housing for health care workers in need,” Coe President David McInally said. “We greatly appreciate everything St. Luke’s and our health care workers are doing to keep our community safe.”

St. Luke’s is located adjacent to Coe and has been an educational partner for years.

“We are very appreciative of our long-standing relationship and we value the support given by Coe College during these unprecedented times,” UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Vice President for Human Resources and Operations Joe Linn said. “The additional housing available to our team members that is being offered on the Coe campus will serve as a convenient option for our staff who have been working many hours during this pandemic.”

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2:30 p.m. Iowa 211 Has Answered Over 35,000 Calls on COVID-19 Pandemic

Iowa 211 announced Tuesday it has eclipsed the 35,000-call mark from Iowans inquiring about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Iowa Department of Public Health began providing the service March 8. It connects people in the state to “basic needs resources such as food, shelter, healthcare, transportation and childcare.”

A release from Iowa 211 said more individuals are now calling 211 to seek to connections to unemployment benefits, food distribution, rent and utility assistance, as well as looking for help related to mental health needs.

“Iowa 211 is pleased to serve as a trusted source of information for Iowans. We appreciate the Iowa Department of Public Health’s confidence in the capabilities of our statewide service,” said Melissa McCoy, 211 Director. “We have experienced a 300% increase in call volume since March 8th . Our four call centers collaborated closely to rapidly scale up the necessary staff and technology to meet the needs of Iowans.”

Caller can reach Iowa 211 by dialing 2-1-1, texting their ZIP code to 898211, visiting 211iowa.org or downloading the 211 Iowa app.

12:20 P.M. Wells Fargo Foundation Says It has Made Available Nonprofit Grants Of Over A Half-Million Dollars

A release from Wells Fargo’s regional office said its foundation has made grants totals $515,000 to 25 Iowa nonprofits in support of community response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included among Wells Fargo’s various pandemic-related philanthropic grants made thus far in Iowa are:

• $150,000 to the Institute for Community Alliances, which is providing the first-ever statewide rental assistance to help get individuals out of homeless shelters across the state. At the time of the award, more than 1,100 Iowans resided in shelters, where the risk of spreading coronavirus is great. Wells Fargo’s grant is expected to pay for the first month’s rent for as much as 10 percent of the state’s homeless shelter residents.

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• $225,000 for small business assistance relief efforts. That total includes individual grants of $75,000 to the Iowa Center for Economic Success, $50,000 to Iowa Community Capital and $50,000 to the Director’s Council and Financial Empowerment Center’s Small Business Relief Fund.

• $100,000 to disaster funds managed by community foundations in metro Des Moines, Sioux City, Crawford County, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Waterloo/Cedar Falls and the Quad Cities.

11:40 a.m. Minor League Baseball Launches Program To Aid Local Food Banks

Minor League Baseball annoucned Tuesday it is launching MiLB CommUNITY First to raise funds for local food banks and to honor individuals on the front lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Fans can visit MiLB.com/CommUNITYFirst through May 31 to donate and select the minor league community then want to support. That would include Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Burlington, Davenport and Des Moines in Iowa.

For every $10 donation, the local MiLB team in the selected community will donate one free ticket to a game in 2020 or 2021 to a local hero.

“In times of uncertainty, coming together to help others is crucial to the health, well-being and stability of our local communities,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “With the support of our fans and through the Feeding America network of food banks, we want to do our part to continue to fight hunger across America during this pandemic. When it is possible to hold games once again, our teams will provide local heroes across the country with unforgettable experiences in our ballparks.”

11:30 a.m. Linn, Johnson County Auditor’s Offices Sign Mutual Aid Agreement For Elections

Auditor’s Offices from Linn and Johnson County have signed a mutual aid agreement to support each other in the event either county’s election operations are degraded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agreement states that should either party’s office or staff be unable to perform their regular duties and procedures due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, each party shall, subject to federal and state laws, rules, and regulations, endeavor to provide the following mutual assistance, including but not limited to:

•Provide shared workspace and access to Ivoters

•Provide staffing assistance to process election material

•Assist in training workers or providing facilities for training

•Communicate with media or other interested parties as appropriate

•Provide vehicle assistance if necessary and available

•Assist in any other way to ensure that elections proceed without disruption

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“Over the years, the Johnson and Linn County Auditors’ Offices have collaborated and shared best practices. The COVID-19 crisis has caused us to formally agree to help each other if one office closes down and the other office continues to operate,” Linn County Auditor Joel Miller said.

“Please vote absentee. By voting absentee you keep poll workers and yourself safe,” Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said.

8:45 a.m. Phone line For Non-English Speakers Seeking COVID-19 Assistance

The Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa and Lutheran Services in Iowa have created a phone line in over 20 languages to help refugees and non-English speakers get COVID-19 questions answered and set up doctor or support services.

The number is 877-558-2609 and will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Languages supported are Spanish (press 1 after the phone is answered), Arabic (2), Swahili (3), Kinyarwanda (3), Kirundi/Kinyamulenga (3), French (4), Burmese (5), Karen (5), Karenni (5), Nepali (6), Somali (7), Tigrinya (8), Kunama (8), Amharic (8), Nuer (9), Maban (9), Vietnamese (0), Mandarin Chinese (*), Other Languages (#).

8:35 a.m. InaUgural Iowa’s Ride Will Not Happen

Organizers of the Iowa’s Ride bicycle ride through the state have canceled the inaugural event because of the coronavirus epidemic. Competition for the annual RAGBRAI, Iowa’s Ride was scheduled from July 12-18.

“Our top priority has always been the safety of everyone that would be involved in the event,” said T.J. Juskiewicz, Iowa’s Ride Director. “We carefully monitored the evolving pandemic and consulted with health and safety officials across the state and country and town leaders to base any decisions.”

Iowa’s Ride said it is extending refund deadline until May 15. E-mail fun@iowasride.com to request your individual or group refund.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.