The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced significant tax relief for victims of Hurricane Irma. Those who have been affected by the storm have until January 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions through October 16 and businesses with extensions through September 15. This is the same relief granted to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Currently, the IRS said that affected taxpayers in the islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; the municipalities of Adjuntas, Aguas Buenas, Barranquitas, Bayamón, Camuy, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Ciales, Comerío, Culebra, Guaynabo, Hatillo, Jayuya, Juncos, Las Piedras, Loiza, Luquillo, Orocovis, Patillas, Quebradillas, Salinas, San Juan, Utuado, Vega Baja, Vieques, and Yauco in Puerto Rico; and any area designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for either individual assistance or public assistance in the State of Florida (all 67 counties of Florida) would receive this and other special tax relief.
"This has been a devastating storm for the Southeastern part of the country, and the IRS will move quickly to provide tax relief for victims, just as we did following Hurricane Harvey," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "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."
Here's what the relief entails: tax filing and payment deadlines which began starting on September 4, 2017, in Florida and September 5, 2017, in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands will be pushed off until January 31, 2018. That means that returns and payments that were originally due during this period, including the September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018, deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments, will now be January 31, 2018. This also includes returns on extension, including businesses with extensions that run out on Friday, September 15, 2017. Remember, however, that the extensions were an extension of the time to file, not the time to pay, so payments for 2016 tax returns are still keyed to the April 18, 2017, due date.
Relief also includes a waiver of late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due during the first 15 days of the disaster period.
The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. That means that taxpayers do not need to contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if you receive a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS and were entitled to relief, you should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.
The IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 1.866.562.5227. This includes those workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or charitable organization.
Additionally, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced that Hurricane Irma victims in affected areas have until January 31, 2018, to file their Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) report for the 2016 calendar year. The 2016 FBAR would otherwise be due October 15, 2017.
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). You can find more on casualty losses here.
For additional details on available tax relief, check out the disaster relief page on IRS.gov. For information on government-wide efforts related to Hurricane Irma, please visit www.USA.gov/hurricane-irma.
For more details on how you can help following Hurricane Harvey, click here. For information about how charitable efforts might be different following Hurricane Irma, click here.