Guide to filing a Delaware state tax return

The Delaware Memorial Bridge crosses the Delaware River to connect New Jersey and Delaware.Image: The Delaware Memorial Bridge crosses the Delaware River to connect New Jersey and Delaware.

In a Nutshell

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware has extended its filing and payment deadline for 2019 income taxes to July 15, 2020.
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This article was fact-checked by our editors and Rachel Weatherly, tax product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2019 tax year.

Delaware is the second-smallest state in the country, but it has some outsized tax breaks for those who work, live and pay taxes in the state.

Here are things to know about when and how to file your tax return in the First State, and what to do if you can’t meet the deadlines.



What are some basics of Delaware state taxes?

If you’ve ever filed a federal tax return, you may be familiar with most of Delaware’s tax deductions and credits. But the state’s tax rates and deadlines are different from those of the IRS.

Taxing body

The Delaware Division of Revenue administers the income tax code and process in the state. If you have questions, you can call the personal tax assistance team at 1-302-577-8200.

Filing and payment deadline

For 2019 state taxes, the state has extended the filing and payment deadline. Delaware residents now have until July 15, 2020, to file their state returns and pay any state tax they owe for 2019. As with the federal deadline extension, Delaware won’t charge interest on unpaid balances between April 15 and July 15, 2020.

You don’t need to do anything to get this extension. It’s automatic for all Delaware taxpayers. But keep in mind that if you’re expecting a refund, you might want to go ahead and file as soon as possible. During the coronavirus crisis, the state is continuing to process tax returns and issue refunds.

Many states use the federal tax deadline of April 15 as the due date for state tax returns. But Delaware generally gives filers extra time. While this year is a bit different, you usually have until April 30 to file your Delaware tax return.

If you need more time to file your return, you can apply for an extension. This gives you until October 15 to file your return, but you’ll still need to pay what you owe by the July 15, 2020, deadline.

If you don’t file by the new deadline and you owe taxes, the state will assess a late-filing penalty and you’ll pay interest. The late filing penalty is generally 5% of the amount due per month — plus interest accrued at 0.5% per month or part of a month until the debt is paid in full.

Filing statuses

Delaware has many of the same filing statuses that you’ll find on your federal return, including …

  • Single
  • Head of household
  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately

The state also allows married couples filing separately to file their returns on the same form for the sake of convenience. This is called a combined separate return.

Learn how your filing status affects your tax bill

Delaware income tax rate(s)

The state has a progressive tax code, which means that your tax rate depends on your taxable income. That said, the tax brackets are the same whether you’re single or filing jointly with your spouse. Here are the tax rates and bracket thresholds for the 2019 tax year.

Tax rate Taxable income

2.2%

$2,001–$5,000

3.9%

$5,001–$10,000

4.8%

$10,001–$20,000

5.2%

$20,001–$25,000

5.55%

$25,001–$60,000

6.6%

$60,001 or more

What are some Delaware deductions and adjustments to income?

Delaware offers taxpayers several deductions and credits to help them lower their tax bill, or even to help them get a bigger tax refund. Here are some of the more noteworthy tax breaks that may be available to you.

Standard deduction

You have the choice to itemize your deductions or to claim the standard deduction available to all taxpayers. The amount you can claim depends on your filing status. Here are the standard deductions for 2019.

  • Single: $3,250
  • Head of household: $3,250
  • Married filing jointly: $6,500
  • Married filing separately: $3,250
  • Married filing a combined separate return: $3,250

If you’re 65 or older or blind, you may qualify for an additional standard deduction of $2,500 (or $5,000 if you’re 65 or older and blind).

What are the federal standard deduction amounts for 2019?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 significantly increased the federal standard deduction for all filing statuses. Here are the standard deduction amounts for the 2019 tax year:

  • $12,200 for single taxpayers or married couples who file separate returns
  • $18,350 for head of household
  • $24,400 for married couples filing a joint return and qualifying widow(er)s

Itemized deductions

Delaware allows you to itemize deductions on your state return even if you claimed the standard deduction on your federal income tax return. The deductions you can itemize on your Delaware state tax return generally mirror the federal itemized deductions, and the same limits apply.

Here are some of the itemized deductions that are available for 2019.

  • Foreign taxes paid: If you claim the federal foreign tax credit on your federal return, you can deduct the actual amount you paid in foreign taxes.
  • Charitable mileage: If you used your vehicle during the tax year as part of your volunteer service for a charitable organization, you can claim a deduction of $0.26 per mile.
  • Federal itemized deductions: You can also include any itemized deductions that you can claim on a federal tax return, such as a deduction for medical and dental expenses, certain state and local taxes, home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

State tax credits

Here are some tax credits that are available in 2019.

  • Personal credit: You can take a credit of $110 for yourself, your spouse and any dependents you have. You can take additional credits if you and/or your spouse are 60 years or older.
  • Childcare credit: If you qualify for the federal child and dependent care credit, and reside in Delaware, you may be able to take a credit on your Delaware state tax return. The amount of the credit is 50% of your federal credit.
  • Earned income tax credit: If you qualify for the federal earned income tax credit, you can claim this credit on your state return. The amount of the credit is 20% of your federal credit.
  • Volunteer firefighter credit: Active volunteer firefighters or members of volunteer fire company auxiliaries or volunteer rescue squads can take a credit of $400.

How can I file a Delaware state tax return?

The Delaware Division of Revenue allows you to e-file your return through its website. It’s free, and there’s no income requirement, but you’ll need to create an online account. If you’re only filing one state return, you can also opt to file both your federal and your Delaware returns through Credit Karma Tax®, which never charges a fee to help you file your tax returns.

If you’d rather file a paper return, you can download forms from the state’s website and fill them out on your computer or by hand. If you owe money, mail your return and the enclosed payment to the following address:

Delaware Division of Revenue
P.O. Box 508
Wilmington, DE 19899-0508

But if you’re getting a refund, mail your return to the address below:

Delaware Division of Revenue
P.O. Box 8710
Wilmington, DE 19899-8710

What if I owe and can’t pay?

If you can’t pay what you owe, contact the Delaware Division of Revenue’s Installment Section as soon as possible at 1-302-577-8586. Based on your situation, it will choose the best way for you to pay your bill, including setting you up with an installment plan.

That said, you may owe penalties and interest on the unpaid amount until your payment plan is finished. Interest is charged at 0.5% per month or part of a month, and the failure-to-pay penalty is 1% per month up to 25% total.

If you don’t pay, your name and address could end up on a list of delinquent taxpayers published on the state’s website.

What should you do if you can’t pay your federal tax bill on time?

How can I track a Delaware tax refund?

If you’re expecting a refund on your state tax return, you can check the status on the state’s website. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number and the refund amount to get an update.


Bottom line

High-income earners don’t have to worry about progressively increasing tax rates, and everyone gets a couple of extra weeks to file their state return after their federal return is due.

As you prepare for your Delaware state tax return, make sure to keep the state’s deductions and credits in mind and avoid penalties and interest by filing and paying on time.


Rachel Weatherly is a tax product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. She studied accounting and finance at Western Carolina University and has also worked as a tax analyst. You can find her on LinkedIn.


About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.