Special Tax Relief: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma & Maria
Key tax relief provisions are now available for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. This tax relief applies to individuals and businesses anywhere in Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, as well as parts of Texas. A key component of this tax relief is that it postpones various tax deadlines. For example, individuals and businesses will have until January 31, 2018, to file any returns and pay any taxes due.
Those eligible for the extra time include:
- Individual filers whose tax-filing extension runs out on October 16, 2017. Because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.
- Business filers, such as calendar-year partnerships, whose extensions ran out on September 15, 2017.
- Quarterly estimated tax payments due on September 15, 2017 and January 16, 2018.
- Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on October 31, 2017.
- Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on November 15, 2017.
A variety of other returns, payments and tax-related actions also qualify for additional time. Please call our office, if you have any questions about this and other tax relief offered by the IRS, since these hurricanes began affecting the US mainland and its territories, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
In addition to extra time to file and pay, the IRS offers other special assistance to disaster-area taxpayers such as:
- Special relief helps employer-sponsored leave-based donation programs aid hurricane victims. Under these programs, employees may forgo their vacation, sick or personal leave in exchange for cash payments the employer makes, before Jan. 1, 2019, to charities providing relief. Donated leave is not included in the employee’s income, and employers may deduct these cash payments to charity as a business expense.
- 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored retirement plans can make loans and hardship distributions to hurricane victims and members of their families. Under this broad-based relief, a retirement plan can allow a hurricane victim to take a hardship distribution or borrow up to the specified statutory limits from the victim’s retirement plan. It also means that a person who lives outside the disaster area can take out a retirement plan loan or hardship distribution and use it to assist a son, daughter, parent, grandparent or dependent who lived or worked in the disaster area. Hardship withdrawals must be made by Jan. 31, 2018.
- The IRS is 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.
Individuals and businesses 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 2017 return normally filed next year) or the return for the prior year (2016). If you need assistance or have any questions about disaster-related losses, please contact our office.
The IRS is waiving the usual fees and expediting requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for disaster area taxpayers. This relief can be especially helpful to anyone whose copies of these documents were lost or destroyed by the hurricane.
If disaster-area taxpayers are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter, they should be sure to explain how the disaster impacts them, so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.
Help is just a phone call away. Don’t hesitate to call us, if you would like more information, additional details or have any questions about tax relief provisions for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.