While the storms caused by Tropical Storm Bill have devastated Texas families, one less thing some may need to worry about is paying their tax bill on time. Those affected by recent natural disasters and living in counties designated as federal disaster areas may qualify for tax relief from the IRS. According to the IRS website, the onset of the disaster was May 4, 2015, causing several deadlines to be pushed back to later in the year. As of June 17, the President has declared roughly 30 counties in Texas as federal disaster areas. Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief. Certain deadlines falling between May 4 and Nov. 2 have been postponed to Nov. 2, 2015. This includes the May 15 deadline for many tax-exempt organizations to file their Form 990. It also includes the June 15 and Sept. 15 deadlines for quarterly estimated tax payments. A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the July 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Failure-to-deposit penalties will also be waived for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after May 4, as long as the deposits were made by May 19, 2015. Affected counties: Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Eastland, Fort Bend, Fannin, Gaines, Grayson, Guadalupe, Harris, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Johnson, Liberty, Milam, Montague, Navarro, Nueces, Rusk, Smith, Travis, Van Zandt, Walker, Wichita, Williamson, and Wise. What do to: If you have been affected by the recent disasters in the above named counties and receive an IRS penalty notice, then call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period. The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief. Affected Taxpayers: Affected taxpayers, as listed in Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), include:
- Any individual whose principal residence, and any business entity whose principal place of business, is located in the counties designated as disaster areas;
- Any individual who is a relief worker assisting in a covered disaster area and is affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organizations;
- Any individual whose principal residence, and any business entity whose principal place of business, is not located in a covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline are maintained in a covered disaster area;
- Any estate or trust that has tax records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline in a covered disaster area; and
- Any spouse of an affected taxpayer, solely with regard to a joint return of the husband and wife.
More information: For details concerning relief and information regarding casualty losses, see the article posted by the IRS here. The IRS also has additional information regarding disaster assistance for individuals and businesses that can be found here. For information on deducting losses following disaster, see the Top 10 Tips for Deducting Losses from a Disaster, provided by the IRS. While the IRS can provide relief assistance, they cannot always replace tax records in the event of natural disaster. Here is a publication on safeguarding your tax records during hurricane season. If you have been affected by the recent natural disasters, and live or own a business in one of the affected counties, contact us today.