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NEWS ALERT: Victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: The IRS is Providing Help

Special tax relief and assistance is available to individuals who reside or have a business in the Presidential Declared Disaster Areas.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. However, 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.

Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief.

In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.

Texas —The president has declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and accordingly, the IRS announced that affected taxpayers in Texas will receive tax relief. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-relief-for-victims-of-hurricane-harvey-in-texas

Relief available is not yet fully determined for victims of hurricane Irma and will be updated by the IRS on an ongoing basis. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/help-for-victims-of-hurricane-irma

In summary, certain deadlines falling on or after Aug. 23, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018. This includes:

  • Taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2016 return that was due to run out on Oct. 16, 2017.
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2017.

Casualty Losses

Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See Publication 547 for details. Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684 and its instructions.

Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on a 2016 return should put the Disaster Designation, “Texas, Hurricane Harvey” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.

Other Relief

The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation “Texas, Hurricane Harvey.” in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.

Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case. Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website, www.irs.gov, or order them by calling 800-829-3676. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.

In order to navigate this complex area of tax rules and regulations we suggest seeking the assistance of tax professionals for guidance. The award-winning team at S.J. Gorowitz Accounting & Tax Services, P.C. (SJG) is happy to help. Please contact us to see how we can further assist you.

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