Tax Relief for Hurricane Victims & Other Extended Due Dates
The IRS recently announced, “Victims of Hurricane Sally that began on September 14 now have until January 15, 2021 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.”
This tax relief is being offered to any area that’s been designated as qualifying for individual assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The updated list of eligible localities is available on the IRS Disaster Relief page.
For victims of Hurricane Sally, this currently includes the following counties in Alabama: Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile. It also includes the following counties in Florida: Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton. However, if there are taxpayers who qualify for assistance in localities that are added later to FEMA’s disaster area, they will automatically get the same tax filing and payment relief.
There is also IRS relief information available for taxpayers who are victims of Hurricane Dorian, Hurricane Michael, Hurricane Florence, California Wildfires, Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Hurricane Harvey.
January 15, 2020 Tax Deadline
The tax relief extends various filing and payment due dates that have occurred, starting September 14, 2020. The affected individuals and businesses now have until January 15, 2021 to file their tax returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this time period.
Individuals who received an extension of time to file their 2019 return by October 15, 2020 will have until January 15, 2021 to file. However, tax payments related to these 2019 returns were due by July 15, 2020 – therefore, those payments are not eligible for this disaster relief.
The extended January 15, 2021 deadline also applies to quarterly Estimated Tax payments that were due on September 15, 2020. It also applies to quarterly payroll and excise tax returns that were due on November 2, 2020. Tax-exempt organizations (operating on a calendar year basis) that received a tax extension until November 16, 2020 will also get extra time to file by the January 15, 2021 due date. It also applies to businesses and calendar-year corporations with extensions that run out on October 15, 2020.
The IRS will abate penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after September 14 and before September 29, as long as the deposits are made by September 29, 2020.
IRS Disaster Relief
The IRS will automatically provide tax filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in a federally-declared disaster area. You do not need to contact the IRS to get this tax relief. However, if you receive a notice from the IRS regarding late filing or late payment penalties and you are qualified to receive disaster relief, you should call the phone number listed on the IRS notice to have the penalty reduced/removed.
The IRS will work with taxpayers who live outside the disaster area but “whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located within the affected area.” If you qualify for relief but you live outside the disaster area, you can contact the IRS at 1-866-562-5227. According to the IRS, “This also incudes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.”
If you or your business suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, you can choose to claim them on your tax return for the year the loss occurred, or on your tax return for the previous year. Make sure you write the FEMA declaration number – 4563 for Hurricane Sally in Alabama – if you file a tax return claiming a loss. For more information, see IRS Publication 547 (Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts).
Stimulus Payment Deadline Extended for Non-Filers
On October 5, the IRS announced that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP) has been extended to November 21, 2020. This gives people an extra 5 weeks beyond the original deadline.
The IRS is encouraging people who don’t typically file a tax return (and who haven’t received a stimulus check) to register by using the IRS Non-Filers tool.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “We took this step to provide more time for those who have not yet received a payment to register to get their money, including those in low-income and underserved communities. The IRS is deeply involved in processing and programming that overlaps filing seasons. Any further extension beyond November would adversely impact our work on the 2020 and 2021 filing seasons. The Non-Filers portal has been available since the spring and has been used successfully by many millions of Americans.”
Rettig added, “Time is running out for those who don’t normally file a tax return to get their payments. Registration is quick and easy, and we urge everyone to share this information to reach as many people before the deadline.”