If you were impacted by Hurricane Irene, you may be eligible for disaster area tax relief. The IRS is providing disaster relief to individuals and businesses in certain states and counties in the form of a tax extension to give people a little more time to put their finances in order after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene. Flooding and strong winds caused catastrophic damage to homes and businesses along the East Coast, and this tax extension is a boon to those currently trying to rebuild. The tax relief programs are part of a coordinated federal response to Hurricane Irene.
General Tax Relief Information
Tax deadlines for businesses and individuals are extended to October 31, 2011. This extension applies to most tax returns with a previously obtained tax extension, including individual, corporate, estate and trust income tax returns as well as partnership, S corporation, trust, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax returns. It also includes 3rd quarter estimated tax payments.
Hurricane Tax Extension
The new October 31 tax extension deadline applies to taxes originally due on:
- September 15 deadline for third quarter estimated taxes
- September 15 deadline for previous 2010 business tax extensions
- October 17 deadline for previous 2010 individual and business tax extensions
Additional Hurricane Irene Tax Relief
Employment and excise taxes. The IRS will also waive failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise taxes due within a specified period. The due dates affected by these waivers vary from state to state.
Tax preparers. A filing extension will also be offered to anyone whose tax preparers were impacted by Hurricane Irene. These individuals and businesses with a September 15 filing deadline will have until September 22 to file their taxes. This extension primarily applies to corporations, partnerships and trusts.
Fee waivers. The IRS will also waive fees for taxpayers requesting copies of previous years’ tax returns. The payers should fill out Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return and put the assigned Disaster Designation in red ink at the top of the form.
Casualty losses. Taxpayers may claim disaster-related casualty losses on this year’s or last year’s federal income tax return. Claiming the losses on last year’s taxes will get you an earlier refund, but you’ll have to run the numbers both ways to see if waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return may result in greater savings.
Who is Eligible?
Anyone with a primary residence, business or workplace in the covered disaster area is eligible for tax relief. This includes people or businesses with tax documents housed in the covered disaster area. All registered workers helping with disaster relief efforts are also eligible for the tax extension. All individuals killed or injured as a result of the hurricane are eligible as well.
If any taxpayer eligible for relief receives a late payment or penalty notice from the IRS, the payer should call the number listed on the notice to have the penalties and interest abated.
States and Counties Included in the Tax Extension
Individuals and businesses in these counties and states are eligible for the Hurricane Irene disaster area tax extension:
- Connecticut: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland and Windham Counties
- New Jersey: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren Counties
- New York: Albany, Clinton, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren and Westchester Counties
- North Carolina: Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington and Wilson Counties
- Massachusetts: Berkshire and Franklin Counties
- Puerto Rico: Arroyo, Aguas Buenas, Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cayey, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Humacao, Jayuya, Juncos, Loíza, Luquillo, Orocovis, Patillas, Ponce and San Juan Counties
- Vermont: Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor Counties
The IRS continues to add more counties to the list as FEMA disaster reports are processed. You can watch for additions on the IRS Hurricane Irene tax relief announcements.