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The governor and Legislature face a tight timeline to offer up assistance to Oregonians hurt by the economy.

PMG PHOTO: JOSEPH GALLIVAN - Gov. Kate Brown, speaking via video conference call to the Oregon Business Summit, announces a series of tax breaks to help Oregonians get through the pandemic.Small businesses in Oregon struggling with a drop in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic will receive some tax relief, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday, Dec. 14.

Brown ordered the elimination of penalties and interests on 2019 income taxes.

"Small business owners who play by the rules shouldn't face penalties and fees because COVID-19 has robbed them of their livelihood," she said.

Brown may have to issue a flurry of orders on issues ranging from unemployment to an eviction moratorium. Programs for unemployment benefits and other measures are scheduled to end Dec. 31.

If the Legislature and governor cannot agree on other steps, such as a special session, executive orders could be used as a stop-gap until the regular session of the Legislature convenes Jan. 19.

The state action also is wrapped-up in the struggle in Congress to pass COVID-19 relief, which could renew some of the programs.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said a deal must be struck before the House and Senate adjourn for the year.

"Congress must pass an economic relief package before the end of the year to avert more economic backsliding and financial catastrophe for millions of families," Wyden said.

Brown's order on Monday applies to personal income, corporate excise and corporate income taxes. The action would:

• Waive all penalties on 2019 income tax due from businesses that are impacted by COVID-19.

• Waive all interest on 2019 income tax due from small businesses hurt by COVID-19 and have less than $5 million in gross receipts.

• Continue extended payment plans up to 36 months for any taxpayer impacted by COVID-19 in an approved payment plan.

Brown also ordered an extension of the due date of the amusement device tax, which comes from lottery machines, for the second quarter of the 2020 tax year. Brown said the move would help restaurants and bars that have been particularly hard-hit by restrictions on dining, gathering size and other measures.

More information on Monday's order will be available by calling the Oregon Department of Revenue at 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222, or at www.oregon.gov/dor.


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