Hurricane Harvey victims have more time to file tax returns and pay tax

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

As floodwaters continue to rise in Texas, the IRS said it is providing tax relief to Hurricane Harvey victims in 18 Texas counties affected by the storm. The relief includes an extension of time to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments (IR-2017-135). It applies to, among other situations, individuals who have returns on valid extensions due Oct. 16, 2017, and businesses whose returns are on valid extensions and are due Sept. 15, 2017. Both have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file.

The IRS is also extending to Jan. 31, 2018, the deadline for individual taxpayers to make estimated tax payments due Sept. 15, 2017, and Jan. 16, 2018. It noted that taxpayers whose individual income tax returns were on extension are not eligible for relief from paying any 2016 income tax because those payments were due April 18, 2017.

The following Texas counties are currently eligible for relief: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton. Taxpayers in other areas that are added to this list by the Federal Emergency Management Agency will automatically qualify for this relief. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a prepared statement, “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.”

In addition, the IRS says it will work with any taxpayers who live outside the disaster area if their records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. These taxpayers should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. Although taxpayers who live in the affected areas should automatically qualify for relief based on their address in IRS records, if they mistakenly get a penalty notice, they should call the number on the notice.

The IRS noted that a variety of other tax deadlines qualify for relief, including the Oct. 31, 2017, deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. In addition, the IRS announced that it is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Aug. 23 and before Sept. 7, if the deposits are made by Sept. 7, 2017.

—Sally Schreiber (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a Tax Adviser senior editor.

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