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Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

10.10.2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma may qualify for tax relief. For those affected by the hurricanes, the IRS is allowing an additional filing extension for business taxpayers with valid extensions that expire on September 15, 2017 and individual taxpayers with valid extensions that expire on October 16, 2017.

Federal Tax Relief
Those affected have until January 31, 2018, to file certain federal business and individual tax returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during the impacted time periods. However, because tax payments related to federal tax returns for 2016 were originally due by April 18, 2017, such payments are not eligible for this relief. On the other hand, quarterly estimated tax payments due on September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018, are eligible for this relief and victims have until January 31, 2018, to make these payments as well.

Are You Eligible for Federal Tax Relief?
This extended due date is offered only to those victims that reside in or have businesses in any area that has been identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance.  For the most current and updated list of impacted areas and applicable time periods, please visit the IRS Disaster Relief Page, https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-in-disaster-situations.

State Tax Relief
State tax authorities are also offering state tax relief to victims of these hurricanes. For example, the Georgia Department of Revenue has announced relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey similar to the relief offered by the IRS. As such, the Georgia Department of Revenue is postponing the tax return filing deadlines (and certain tax payments due within the impacted time periods) for individuals and businesses until January 31, 2018. However, note that this is state-level tax relief, not federal tax relief. It is expected that similar state-level tax relief for victims of Hurricane Irma will be made available by other affected states.  We suggest checking relevant state tax authorities’ websites to determine what, if any, tax relief is available to victims of the hurricanes and to what extent.

Other Relief Items
Employer sponsored retirement plans can be used to make loans and hardship distributions for victims and families in areas impacted by the hurricanes.  Hardship withdrawals must be made by January 31, 2018.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected, including the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. The disaster relief page on www.irs.gov has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.

The IRS is also waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due during the first 15 days of the disaster period. Check out the disaster relief page for the time periods that apply to each jurisdiction.

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