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Joseph and Jennifer Cervantes


On May 5, 2021, the Department assessed the Taxpayers for personal income tax penalty and interest. On July 28, 2021, the Taxpayers filed a formal protest of the assessment. The Taxpayers filed their 2019 personal income tax return timely but failed to make payment by the extended deadline of April 15, 2021. The Taxpayers explained that this was based on their confusion over when the extension deadline was for tax year 2019. The reason they paid late, they explained, was because they misunderstood the extension deadline for paying personal income tax due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature provided an extension date for that tax year of April 15, 2021, and then later extended the deadline for the 2020 tax year for personal income tax to May 17, 2021. Because of this, the Taxpayers explained they believed that this date was also the deadline for 2019 also. They provided their history of timely payments and showed how they had hired a CPA in order to ensure they were meeting their filing obligations and paying on time. Based on this evidence, and because of the shifting extension dates for both the federal and state income taxes due to the extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hearing Officer agreed that the late payment was a good faith mistake of law and ordered the penalty assessed abated, but that the interest on the late payment be paid, because nothing in statute provided for the abatement of interest.