After Hurricane Laura wreaked havoc on Louisiana and parts of Texas, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that victims of the disaster now have until Dec. 31, 2020, to file business and individual tax returns as well as make tax payments. Given the considerable damage the storm left in its wake, the tax break is greatly welcomed by many individuals and businesses who have been affected.

Who Qualifies for Relief?

This relief measure is available to areas qualifying for assistance, designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To see if your area is eligible for the relief, check the IRS’s disaster relief page. This page also contains information on tax payments, returns and specific tax-related actions that would allow for more time to file and pay taxes.

If taxpayers live outside of the disaster area but they are required to meet a tax deadline within the affected area during the postponement (for example, their business), the IRS will collaborate to find a solution. If your business is within the disaster zone, call the IRS at 866-562-5227 for more information.

Postponement Period

Since the hurricane hit on Aug. 22, 2020, all tax filing and payment deadlines are postponed beginning from this date. If taxpayers were able to extend the filing of their 2019 tax returns to Oct. 15, 2020, they now have until Dec. 31, 2020, to file. Since tax payments for 2019 were due on July 15, 2020, these payments are not applicable for the relief.

Quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2020, also apply for the new Dec. 31, 2020, deadline, as well as the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns typically due on Nov. 2, 2020. Tax-exempt organizations with a valid extension set to run out on Nov. 16, 2020, as well as businesses operating on a calendar year whose extensions will expire on Oct. 15, 2020, can also take advantage of the relief. Penalties for payroll and excise tax deposits due between Aug. 22, 2020, and Sept. 8, 2020, will be subsided so long as the deposits were made by Sept. 8, 2020.

What Action Needs to be Taken to Receive Relief?

The IRS automatically provides relief to any taxpayers with an address of IRS record within the disaster area, so there is no need to contact the IRS directly if you were affected. If you do receive a late filing penalty or notice and you live in the affected area, however, contact the phone number on the notice to have the fees removed or work with your tax advisor to resolve the issue.

Individuals and businesses who are located within a disaster area and suffered uninsured or unreimbursed losses have the option to claim them on either the 2020 or 2019 tax return. Don’t forget to write the FEMA declaration number, 4559, for Hurricane Laura on any return claiming losses.

If you have questions about the disaster tax relief or claiming disaster-related losses on your tax return, contact Doeren Mayhew’s dedicated team of tax advisors today.

Source: IRS