IRS expands tax relief to taxpayers affected by Hurricane Matthew
TAX ALERT |
On Oct. 17, 2016, the IRS issued News Release IR-2016-135, which updates IRS News Release IR-2016-132, issued on Oct. 13, 2016. According to IR-2016-135, Hurricane Matthew victims in much of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida will have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes an additional filing extension for those with valid extensions that ran out at midnight on Oct. 17, 2016.
In IR-2016-132, the IRS is offering relief to additional taxpayers in any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for either individual assistance or public assistance. Moreover, taxpayers in counties added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.
Currently, based upon the FEMA information, the areas eligible for relief are as follows:
- North Carolina: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne and Wilson counties.
- South Carolina: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Orangeburg and Williamsburg counties.
- Georgia: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties.
- Florida: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie and Volusia counties.
Tax relief offered
The tax relief outlined in IR-2016-135 postpones until March 15, 2017, various tax filings and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 4, 2016. This includes the Jan. 17 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, they are not eligible for this relief.
The IRS is also waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Oct. 4 and before Oct. 19 if the deposits are made by Oct. 19, 2016. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page at IRS.gov.
In addition, the IRS announced in IR-2016-135 that it will automatically provide filing and penalty relief to those taxpayers whose records, necessary for filing their tax returns, are located in the disaster area. Therefore, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer received 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, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice and request abatement of the penalty.
The IRS also authorized the taxpayers affected by the Hurricane to claim their uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses on either their 2015 tax return or on the return for the year when the loss occurred. The IRS instructed taxpayers to see Publication 547 for more details on this issue.