Tuesday night, Gov. Doug Ducey was joined by his family in Simi Valley for his featured appearance as part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute’s “A Time For Choosing” speakers series.
The emphasis of the series is to hear from the leading voices in the conservative movement. And Ducey’s social media comments before and after the event show he was honored to be invited to speak.
At the beginning of his speech, the governor described the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as “a monument to not only a great president, but a great man who built the modern conservative movement” and who inspired many, including Ducey.
“Ronald Reagan’s sentiment remains today,” Ducey said. “Most of us can say unflinchingly – while far from perfect – we remain the single greatest country in the history of the world.”
The governor also used his speech to address the importance of federalism.
And he used the appearance at the Ronald Reagan Library to express his concerns with the direction of the Republican Party at the federal level, calling out what he sees as the “dangerous strain of big government activism.”
Ducey also spoke of the many achievements under his eight years in office.
As if the last 17 months haven’t been complicated enough, the Arizona Department of Revenue announced Thursday that some taxpayers who received income in 2020 from the $12.5 billion paid out by the state for unemployment insurance benefits and pandemic unemployment assistance may be eligible for a tax refund.
The refund can be obtained by filing an Arizona Form 140X amended return. But that is where the simple part ends.
The possibility of a refund affects those Arizonans who received unemployment payments in 2020 and filed their state income tax return on or before March 11, 2021. That’s the date the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed by President Joe Biden, making up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits exempt from federal income taxes in 2020.
Gov. Doug Ducey later signed legislation which mirrored the federal exemption, meaning many Arizonans with 2020 unemployment income likely filed a state tax return under the old tax code.
ADOR could have created a computer program to identify the affected taxpayers who filed on or before March 11 and send them a notification. Instead, the burden is on Arizonans to navigate a maze of “if this, then that” instructions from ADOR in order to obtain a refund.
To start with, the Arizona Form 140X cannot be filed unless the taxpayer’s 2020 federal tax return has been amended first. The IRS is already doing that for some taxpayers and even sending an adjustment notice with a refund check. Everyone else is responsible for preparing and filing an amended federal return.
Either way, Arizonans eligible for a refund due to overpaying taxes on their 2020 unemployment benefits must wait for the IRS to confirm the federal return has been adjusted. And then they have to ask the IRS for a “transcript” after the amended federal return is processed.
Once that is done, a taxpayer can complete the Arizona Form 140X. However, it cannot be e-filed through ADOR’s website; it must be printed out and mailed in.
On the upside, Arizonans have four years to amend their state income tax return to claim a refund for overpayment of unemployment income. An amended 2020 return filed in 2022, however, could trigger the need for an amended return in 2021.
Most Arizona residents will be able to complete the Arizona Form 140X by following simplified instructions provided at https://azdor.gov. However, part-year residents and nonresidents must follow the full instructions for Form 140X.