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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

NC Unemployment Claims Top 80,000 As Tax Deadline Extended

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Savannah L. Waters
Senior Airman Savannah L. Waters
U.S. Air Force

RALEIGH — North Carolina's state April 15 tax filing deadline has been pushed back by three months due to the new coronavirus, the Department of Revenue announced.

The rescheduled July 15 date for state individual, corporate, and franchise taxes follows the federal government's lead. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a similar IRS delay on Friday, adding that IRS taxpayers won't face interest or penalties with the longer wait.

But North Carolina's tax office only has power to waive penalties if they pay their tax by July 15. Interest will still accrue from April 15 until the date of payment because state law requires it, the department said in a release.

The tax delay, announced Friday, comes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases in North Carolina keeps growing and the effect of the business slowdown nationally and in North Carolina causes economic hardship.

The state Department of Health and Human Services has counted more than 250 positive cases as of Sunday morning, an increase of about 71 compared to Saturday. The highest percentage of those cases are in Mecklenburg, Wake and Durham counties. No deaths have been reported.

Gov. Roy Cooper has issued executive orders limiting assemblies of over 100 people and prohibiting restaurants and bars from offering dine-in options. State health officials are urging people to follow federal guidelines of avoiding crowds of 50 or more. Cooper said the movement restrictions, while necessary to blunt the intensity of the virus, would hurt restaurant workers.

These and other massive scale-backs at North Carolina retailers and eateries have contributed to a massive wave of unemployment claims.

More than 83,000 claims had been filed from Monday through early Saturday afternoon, compared to weekly filings of about 3,500 claims in recent months, said Larry Parker, a spokesman for the Division of Employment Security. COVID-19 was cited for the claims request in 85% of the cases, Parker said.

In Wake County, an assisted living resident in Cary has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the operator of the Woodland Terrace residential community for older adults. The exposure's origin was unknown, executive director Matt Towler said in a news release. The community also includes independent living units and memory care.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Hospitals already are preparing for a surge in patients. Hospital systems in the Triangle — UNC Health, Duke Health and Wake Med — announced that starting Monday visitors won't be permitted in their hospitals’ inpatient areas, with some exceptions.

Cooper already closed K-12 public schools through March 30. University of North Carolina system campuses are shifting students to online classes and told them to leave their dormitories. UNC-Chapel Hill announced on Friday that its May commencement ceremonies are being postponed.

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