IR 2018-187, 9/15/2018
IRS has announced that it is extending the time to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments for Hurricane Florence. IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance.
Background. On its disaster relief page, IRS details the relief that disaster victims qualify for in the listed affected areas (see here). Victims of recent severe storms and flooding in numerous states have more time to make tax payments and file returns if they are affected taxpayers in counties that have been designated as federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance. Certain other time-sensitive acts also are postponed.
IRS promises tax relief. IR 2018-187, 9/15/2018, stated that the tax relief that IRS is now offering is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by severe storms and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from 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 to have the penalty abated.
IRS will also work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact IRS at 866-562-5227. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.
IRS notes that individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2018 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2017). See Publication 547 for details.
Currently, this relief only includes parts of North Carolina. For example, Hurricane Florence victims in parts of North Carolina have until Jan. 31, 2019, to file and pay any taxes (see “Disaster victims in North Carolina qualify for tax relief“). However, IRS says that taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Sept. 7, 2018 in North Carolina. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31, 2019, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 17, 2018, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2018. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year partnerships whose 2017 extensions run out on Sept. 17, 2018. Taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2017 return due to run out on Oct. 15, 2018 will also have more time to file.
In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Sept. 7, 2018, and before Sept. 24, 2018, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 24, 2018.