IRS Announced That They Will Provide Hurricane Irma Tax Relief to Victims

Hurricane Irma Tax Relief:  The IRS has announced relief for Hurricane Irma victims in parts of Florida.  While additional relief is planned, the immediate commitment is an extension of certain individual and business tax returns as well as certain tax payments until January 31, 2018.  This is similar to relief granted last month to Hurricane Harvey victims and includes filing extensions for taxpayers with valid extensions that would otherwise run out on Oct. 16, and businesses with extensions that would have run out on Sept. 15.

“This has been a devastating storm for the Southeastern part of the country, and the IRS will move quickly to provide tax relief for victims, just as we did following Hurricane Harvey,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The IRS will continue to closely monitor the storm’s aftermath, and we anticipate providing additional relief for other affected areas in the near future.”

This relief is being offered to any area that has been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance. This includes parts of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, although taxpayers in regions added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. For a current list of eligible regions you may go to disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

This Hurricane Irma Tax Relief plan will postpone a number of tax filing and payment deadlines that would otherwise occur starting on Sept. 4, 2017 in Florida and Sept. 5, 2017 in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As a result of the Hurricane Irma Tax Relief Plan, affected individuals and businesses will now have until January 31, 2018, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period.

The extensions include the Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, the Hurricane Irma Tax Relief plan also includes 2016 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017. The IRS noted, however, that since tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

Some of the business tax deadlines also affected include the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Businesses who have valid extensions will also have additional time including calendar-year partnerships whose 2016 extensions run out on Sept. 15, 2017 and calendar-year tax-exempt organizations  whose 2016 extensions would otherwise run out on Nov. 15, 2017. The disaster relief web page includes details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions that quality for the additional time.

Furthermore, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for any federal payroll and excise tax deposits that are normally due during the first 15 days of the disaster period. Check out the disaster relief web page for the time periods that apply to each jurisdiction.

The IRS will automatically provide filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located within the disaster area. Therefore, taxpayers do not need to contact the IRS to obtain this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, then the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty removed.

Furthermore, the IRS will work with any taxpayer living outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are currently in the affected area. Taxpayers living outside the disaster area who qualify for relief should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227,  including workers assisting with relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Any individuals and businesses who have suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can also choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2017 return that would normally be filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2016). Refer to Publication 547 for details.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by our severe storms and flooding and is based on the local damage assessments by FEMA. For more information on disaster recovery, please visit disasterassistance.gov.

For information on the government-wide efforts related to Hurricane Irma, visit www.USA.gov/hurricane-irma.

If all of this sounds a little confusing and you’re not sure whether you qualify, and need help including your hurricane irma tax relief expenses with your return, please contact Calas for assistance. Call us today! 305-780-6045