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Expanded Tax Relief Provided for Victims of Hurricane Michael

Those affected by Hurricane Michael have until February 28, 2019, to file individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.

This relief is being offered to any Major Disaster Declaration area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for either individual or public assistance.  Currently, this includes parts of Florida and Georgia, but victims in localities added later to the disaster area will receive the same filing and payment relief automatically.  The most current list of localities being granted the additional extension of time can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/help-for-victims-of-hurricane-michael.

This tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on October 7, 2018.  Those individuals and businesses who were affected will now have until February 28, 2019, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period.  Individuals who had an extension for their 2017 return will now have until February 28, 2019, to file. However, because tax payments related to these 2017 returns were due on April 18, 2018, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

The February 28, 2019 deadline applies to quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 15, 2019, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2018 and January 31, 2019. It also applies to tax-exempt organizations that had a valid extension due to run out on November 15, 2018. Businesses with extensions will have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year corporations whose 2017 extensions run out on October 15, 2018.  Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due between October 7, 2018 and October 22, 2018, will be reduced as long as the deposits are made by October 22, 2018.

Automatic filing and penalty relief is provided to anyone with an address of record located in the disaster area.  Because of this, you do not need to contact the IRS to get this relief.  However, if you receive a late filing or late payment penalty notice that has an original or due date falling within the postponement period, you should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

If you live outside the disaster area but have records necessary to meet the deadline located in an affected area during the postponement period, you can be worked with.  If you qualify for relief and live outside the disaster area, you should contact your certified public accountant or the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.  This includes those working to assist the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized or philanthropic organization.

Those in a federally declared disaster area 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 2018 return normally filed next year) or the return for the prior year (2017).

For more information, always consult a Certified Public Accountant.  Submitted by: Dennis Gallant, Senior Manager, Tax Services, Thomas Howell Ferguson P.A. CPAs. To ask Dennis a question, contact him here.

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