Tax Relief for Hurricane Victims

In the midst of hurricane season, everyone witnessed the devastation that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma caused to several US States, and other nations. Coincidentally, hurricane season runs through various tax deadlines, mainly the September 15th deadline for certain calendar-year businesses on extensions, and the October 16th deadline for individuals and certain calendar-year businesses on extensions.

The IRS is offering relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for either individual assistance or public assistance in Florida. Currently this represents several counties in Texas, all 67 counties of Florida, some municipalities in Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands of St. John and St. Thomas. Taxpayers located in other States, and later added to the disaster area, will automatically receive the same relief.

Various tax filings and payment deadlines that occurred starting on August 23, 2017 in Texas, September 4, 2017 in Florida, and September 5, 2017 in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are postponed until Jan 31, 2018. These include:

  • Individual or business income tax returns due in the above-mentioned period
  • Any tax payment due in the above-mentioned period*
  • October 31st quarterly payroll and excise tax returns
  • Quarterly estimated tax payments due

The IRS is also waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits due during the first 15 days of the disaster period.

The IRS will automatically provide filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area.**

Individuals and businesses who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the 2017 (current disaster year) or 2016 (prior year) return.

*: Calendar-year taxpayers on extension are not eligible, since payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017.

**: Taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. They should however respond to any notice to have the penalty abated, if assessed.