Tax Reprieve Extended To Hurricane Irma Victims

Hurricane Irma
NPS Photo/Public Domain

First Harvey hurled himself into Texas and the Gulf Coast completely wreaking havoc in his wake. Then Irma blew in with her wrath across the Caribbean and the entire state of Florida. By the time she traveled to Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and above, she had fizzled a little, but still left people without power and many places flooded.

Without question it has been one history making hurricane season.

The residents of all of these states and areas of the U.S. are taxed with either starting over having lost everything or cleaning up messes that will take from many months to many years. The devastation has never been so widespread.

IRS Offers Filing Extensions

Fortunately, the Internal Revenue Service is having mercy on the residents of these devastated places. The IRS is giving Hurricane Irma victims in parts of Florida and other areas until Jan. 31, 2018, to file some individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.

Just last month the IRS granted similar relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The reprieves consist of an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions that run out on Oct. 16, and businesses with extensions that run out on Sept. 15. The IRS plans to continue to closely monitor the storm’s aftermath, and they anticipate providing additional relief for other affected areas in the near future.

According to irs.gov, “The IRS is giving the relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as qualifying for individual assistance. Parts of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are currently eligible, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.” The latest list of eligible localities can be found on the IRS’s disaster relief web page.

Tax Relief Specifics

The tax relief delays several tax filing and payment deadlines that happened starting on Sept. 4, 2017 in Florida and Sept. 5, 2017 in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will get until Jan. 31, 2018, to file their tax returns and pay any taxes that originally came due during that period.

That includes both the Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments.

For individual tax filers, the tax relief encompasses 2016 income tax returns that got a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017. Only those who got an extension qualify for this since tax payments stemming from the 2016 returns originally came due on April 18, 2017. If you didn’t file 2016 taxes and owe the IRS, those payments aren’t eligible for this type of relief.

For businesses, several tax deadlines are also impacted, including the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Businesses with extensions also get more time including, among others, calendar-year partnerships whose 2016 extensions end on Sept. 15, 2017 and calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out Nov. 15, 2017. The disaster relief page includes details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions that are eligible for the extra time.

The IRS is also waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits typically due during the first 15 days of the disaster period. The IRS.gov disaster relief page spells out the time periods applicable for each jurisdiction.