IRS, state provide tax relief to Louisiana storm victims

Following this week’s disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes will receive this and other special tax relief. Other locations in Louisiana and other states may be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Aug. 11, 2016. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 17, 2017 to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the Sept. 15 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 17, 2016. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, they are not eligible for this relief. A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the Sept. 15 deadline for corporation and partnership returns on extension and the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.

In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Aug. 11 and before Aug. 26 if the deposits are made by Aug. 26, 2016. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by severe storms and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.

State relief. The Louisiana Department of Revenue has announced that a one-month filing and payment extension is also available to taxpayers affected by the storms and flooding. The extension applies to Louisiana tax returns and payments due August 15, 2016. The extended deadline is September 15, 2016. For returns and payments submitted by the extended deadline, the Department will waive any late filing penalties, late payment penalties, and interest that would otherwise apply. (Louisiana Department of Revenue, Press Release, August 14, 2016.)

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