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Rhode Island's happy and sad tax form signals

Rhode Island flag flying_bigstock-renderin-166890152_600x
Rhode Island's flag offers hope. Its individual tax return offers other emotional indicators.

It's less than a month until federal Tax Day 2020, which everyone knows was moved to July 15 to accommodate the disruptions, tax and otherwise, of COVID-19 to our lives.

That date also is when most folks who also must pay state income tax also have to get those forms to their state tax officials.

Like federal filings, most states allow — nay, encourage — their taxpayers to submit their taxes electronically. And most of those states also have given their taxpayers until July 15 to file and pay.

The reason for the Tax Day duplication is that most states that collect income taxes have their filers use at least some of the information from their federal forms to complete the state process.

A lot of those individual state tax forms also copy the Internal Revenue Service's naming convention. That is, their individual tax returns at the state level typically have 1040 in their titles.

Rhode Island form similarities: An example of these federal and state connections is the individual income tax return for Rhode Island residents.

It is called Form RI-1040. And state officials ask filers of it to enter on line 1 their "Federal AGI (adjusted gross income) from Federal Form 1040 or 1040-SR (the federal income tax form for older taxpayers), line 8b."

Just so you know, links and parenthetical comments in that line from Form RI-1040 are mine, not the Rhode Island tax director's. State annotations are coming up in just a minute.

But those IRS and Rhode Island Department of Revenue Division of Taxation parallels are not the only reason that the Ocean State's individual tax return is this week's Tax Form Tuesday feature.

Emotional filing form: Form RI-1040 earns recognition for the section of the form that gets to the nitty-gritty of tax time, how much you owe Rhode Island or how much the state owes you for over payments throughout the tax year.

And to highlight each possible amount and our usual reactions to them, Rhode Island tax officials emphasize both amounts with emoticons.

Yep, you get a frowny face on line 15c, which is where you enter the amount of tax due that you must send in with your Form RI-1040.

Rhode Island personal income tax form RI-1040 emoticons_arrow2
Click image for a larger view.

Of course, it's the opposite emotion and emoticon if you end up entering a dollar amount for your amount of taxes overpaid on line 16. For that tax refund amount you get a smiley face.

That line 16 image is totally unsurprising from a state that has Hope on its official flag.

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