North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Florence have until January 31, 2019, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain payments, the IRS announced Saturday. This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers who were previously granted an extension through October 15 and businesses with extensions through September 17.
Do I Qualify?
Tax relief is available to taxpayers in any area designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance. As of this morning, September 17, this only includes certain areas in North Carolina. As areas are added to the FEMA list, however, taxpayers will automatically receive that same filing and payment relief. Please continue to check the current list of eligible localities available on the disaster relief page of the IRS or FEMA’s list of declarations.
What Help Is Available?
Most tax filing and payment deadlines which began on or after September 7, 2018, will be pushed off until January 31, 2019. That means that returns and payments that were originally due during this period -- including today’s September 17th deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments -- will now be January 31, 2019. This also includes returns on extension. Just remember that extensions just mean you have more time to file, not more time to pay, so payments for 2017 tax returns are still keyed to the April 17, 2019, due date.
Relief also includes a waiver of late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after September 7, 2018. The IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after September 7, 2018, and before September 24, 2018, so long as the deposits are made by September 24, 2018.
Do I need to contact IRS to get this relief?
No. IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in a disaster area. You do not need to contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if you receive a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS and were entitled to relief, give us a call, and we can get the penalty waived.
What if I live outside the disaster area but my records are inside the disaster area?
Don’t fret. IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records are located in the affected area. This includes those workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or charitable organization. In this case, though, you do need to contact the IRS at 866.562.5227, or let us do it for you.
How will I claim disaster-related losses on my tax return?
If you suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, either for your business or individually, you can choose to claim them on the return for the year the loss occurred -- 2018 in this case -- or the return for the prior year (2017). However, remember that the deduction for personal casualty and theft losses has largely disappeared for the tax years 2018 through 2025 (a provision of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) except for those losses attributable to a federal disaster as declared by the president. If you’re not in one of those areas yet still suffered loss, get in touch with us ASAP to determine your best course of action.
We promised we’d get you back on track after Florence, and we will. We have many resources to deploy if you’ve been affected. Please reach out.