Hurricane Irma victims in Florida and Puerto Rico, in addition to U.S. Virgin Islands, qualify for tax relief

IRS has announced on its website that victims of Hurricane Irma in counties of Florida and municipalities of Puerto Rico, in addition to islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands, that are designated as federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance have more time to make tax payments and file returns. Certain other time-sensitive acts also are postponed. This Alert summarizes the relief that’s available and includes up-to-date disaster area designations and extended filing and deposit dates for all areas affected by storms, floods and other disasters in 2017.

Who gets relief. Only taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers are eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts. Affected taxpayers include:

  • . . . any individual whose principal residence, and any business entity whose principal place of business, is located in the counties designated as disaster areas;
  • . . . any individual who is a relief worker assisting in a covered disaster area, regardless of whether he is affiliated with recognized government or philanthropic organizations;
  • . . . any individual whose principal residence, and any business entity whose principal place of business, is not located in a covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline are maintained in a covered disaster area;
  • . . . any estate or trust that has tax records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline in a covered disaster area; and
  • . . . any spouse of an affected taxpayer, solely with regard to a joint return of the husband and wife.

What may be postponed. Under Code Sec. 7508A, IRS gives affected taxpayers until the extended date (specified by county, below) to file most tax returns (including individual, estate, trust, partnership, C corporation, and S corporation income tax returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns), or to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date falling on or after the onset date of the disaster (specified by county, below), and on or before the extended date.
IRS also gives affected taxpayers until the extended date to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev Proc 2007-56, 2007-34 IRB 388, that are due to be performed on or after the onset date of the disaster, and on or before the extended date. This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, in the way described in Rev Proc 2007-56, Sec. 8. Additionally, the relief described in Rev Proc 2007-56, Sec. 17, relating to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.

The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098, 1099 or 5498 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits. IRS, however, will abate penalties for failure to make timely employment and excise deposits, due on or after the onset date of the disaster, and on or before the deposit delayed date (specified by county, below), provided the taxpayer made these deposits by the deposit delayed date.

Affected areas and dates for storms, floods and other disasters occurring in 2017 that are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance, as published on IRS’s website, are carried below.

Observation: Effective for disasters declared in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2007, the term “federally declared disaster” replaced the previously used “presidential disaster area” term. The new term is substantially the same as the definition of “presidentially declared disaster” under former law.

Arkansas: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that took place beginning on Apr. 26, 2017: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lawrence, Pulaski, Randolph, Prairie, Saline, White, Woodruff, Washington, and Yell counties.

For these Arkansas counties, the onset date of the disaster was Apr. 26, 2017 and the extended date was Aug. 31, 2017 (which includes the estimated tax payment due on June 15, 2017 and the quarterly payroll tax returns due on May 1, 2017 and July 31, 2017). The deposit delayed date was May 11, 2017.

Florida: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 4, 2017: Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, and St. Johns counties.

For these Florida counties, the onset date of the disaster was Sept. 4, 2017 and the extended date is Jan. 31, 2018 (which includes 2016 income tax returns for which taxpayers obtained a valid extension to file by Oct. 16, 2017; the quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018; the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2017; and returns of tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2017). The deposit delayed date is Sept. 19, 2017.

Georgia: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on Jan. 21, 2017: Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Thomas, Turner, Worth, and Wilcox counties.

For these Georgia counties, the onset date of the disaster was Jan. 21, 2017 and the extended date was May 31, 2017 (which includes 2016 income tax returns normally due on Apr. 18 and the Apr. 18 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments). The deposit delayed date was Feb. 6, 2017.
Georgia: The following is a federal disaster area qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on Jan. 2, 2017: Dougherty county.

For this Georgia county, the onset date of the disaster was Jan. 2, 2017 and the extended date was May 31, 2017 (which includes 2016 income tax returns normally due on Apr. 18, and the Jan. 15 and Apr. 18 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments). The deposit delayed date was Jan. 17, 2017.

Louisiana: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on Feb. 7, 2017: Livingston and Orleans parishes.

For these Louisiana parishes, the onset date of the disaster was Feb. 7, 2017, and the extended date was June 30, 2017 (which includes the 2016 income tax returns normally due on April 18 and the April 18 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments). The deposit delayed date was Feb. 22, 2017.

Michigan: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms and flooding that took place beginning on June 22, 2017: Bay, Gladwin, Isabella, and Midland counties, and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe within Isabella county.

For these Michigan counties, the onset date of the disaster was June 22, 2017, and the extended date is Oct. 31, 2017 (which includes the 2016 income tax returns for which taxpayers obtained a valid extension to file by Oct. 16, 2017; the Sept. 15, 2017 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments; and the quarterly payroll tax return due on July 31, 2017). The deposit delayed date was July 7, 2017.

Mississippi: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place beginning on Jan. 20, 2017: Forrest, Lamar, Lauderdale, and Perry counties.

For these Mississippi counties, the onset date of the disaster was Jan. 20, 2017, and the extended date was May 31, 2017 (which includes the 2016 income tax returns normally due on Apr. 18; the Apr. 18 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments; and the estimated income tax payment originally due on or after Jan. 20, 2017, and before May 31, 2017). The deposit delayed date was Feb. 6, 2017.

Missouri: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that took place beginning on Apr. 28, 2017: Bollinger, Butler, Carter, Christian, Crawford, Dent, Douglas, Dunklin, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, Howell, Jasper, Jefferson, Madison, Maries, McDonald, Newton, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Pemiscot, Phelps, Pulaski, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, Stone, Taney, Texas, Wayne, and Wright counties.

For these Missouri counties, the onset date of the disaster was Apr. 28, 2017, and the extended date was Aug. 31, 2017 (which includes the estimated tax payment due on June 15, 2017 and the quarterly payroll tax returns due on Apr. 30, 2017 and July 31, 2017). The deposit delayed date was May 15, 2017.

Puerto Rico: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 5, 2017: Culebra and Vieques municipalities.

For these Puerto Rico municipalities, the onset date of the disaster was Sept. 5, 2017, and the extended date is Jan. 31, 2018 (which includes 2016 income tax returns for which taxpayers obtained a valid extension to file by Oct. 16, 2017; the quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018; the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2017; and returns of tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2017). The deposit delayed date is Sept. 20, 2017.

Observation: IRS’s website states that Hurricane Irma “took place beginning on Sept. 4” in Florida and “took place beginning on Sept. 5” in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico—when in fact the hurricane struck the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico first. Presumably, this may be corrected in future guidance.

Texas: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of Hurricane Harvey that took place beginning on Aug. 23, 2017: Aransas, Austin, Batrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Wharton, and Waller counties.

For these Texas counties, the onset date of the disaster was Aug. 23, 2017, and the extended date is Jan. 31, 2018 (including the Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments, 2016 individual income tax returns for which taxpayers received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017, the Oct. 31, 2017 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns, and returns of tax-exempt organizations with an original or extended filing deadline falling within the postponement period). The deposit delayed date was Sept. 7, 2017.

U.S. Virgin Islands: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of Hurricane Irma that took place beginning on Sept. 5, 2017: St. John and St. Thomas islands.

For these areas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the onset date of the disaster was Sept. 5, 2017, and the extended date is Jan. 31, 2018 (which includes 2016 income tax returns for which taxpayers obtained a valid extension to file by Oct. 16, 2017; the quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018; the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2017; and returns of tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2017). The deposit delayed date is Sept. 20, 2017.

West Virginia: The following are federal disaster areas qualifying for individual assistance on account of severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that took place beginning on July 28, 2017: Harrison, Marion, Marshall, and Wetzel counties.

For these West Virginia counties, the onset date of the disaster was July 28, 2017, and the extended date is Nov. 30, 2017 (which includes 2016 income tax returns for which taxpayers obtained a valid extension to file by Oct. 16, 2017; the Sept. 15, 2017 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments; and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on July 31, 2017 and Oct. 31, 2017). The deposit delayed date was Aug. 14, 2017.