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IRS extends upcoming deadlines, provides tax relief for victims of Hurricane Michael


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is extending certain tax-filing deadlines to individuals and business owners whose mailing address falls within the FEMA-designated disaster areas of Florida and elsewhere. The Federal Emergency Management Administration identified these disaster areas following landfall of Hurricane Michael.

Currently, FEMA has extended deadlines to parts of Florida, but taxpayers in localities added later — including those in other states — automatically will receive the same filing and payment relief. As more localities are added, taxpayers are being urged to check the designated areas on the disaster relief page provided on IRS.gov.

Hurricane Michael made landfall on Oct. 10, just northwest of Mexico Beach, Florida, along the Panhandle, as a Category 4 hurricane — dumping as much as 12 inches of rain and causing widespread wind damage and flash-flooding. It was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made its way through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and southeastern Virginia.

What you need to know about eligibility requirements

Taxpayers and business owners with the following tax filing and payment deadlines in 16 Florida counties will receive extensions if the original or extended due date occurred between Oct. 7, 2018 and before Feb. 28, 2019.

  • Payroll deposits originally due between Oct. 7 and Oct. 24 will be considered timely if deposited by Oct. 24. 
  • Quarterly payroll returns due Oct. 31, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019 will be granted an extension until Feb. 28, 2019.
  • The extensions apply to the following counties: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington.

Taxpayers and business owners with the following tax filing and payment deadlines in 31 Georgia counties will receive extensions if the original or extended due date occurred between Oct. 9, 2018 and before Feb. 28, 2019.

  • Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth.

The IRS also recognizes that some taxpayers who live outside the disaster area might have difficulty meeting deadlines originally scheduled during the postponement period because of records located within the disaster area. Any such taxpayer who lives outside the area but qualifies for relief under such circumstances should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This includes workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization who are assisting the relief activities.

If you or your business is located within a FEMA-designated disaster area and there were uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, you have the option of claiming them on the return in the year the loss occurred (2018 for Hurricane Michael) or the return for the previous year (2017). According to the IRS, individuals and businesses can get a faster refund by claiming losses on the previous year’s tax return by filing an amended return. Personal casualty losses incurred by Hurricane Florence may be claimed as a qualified disaster loss. The IRS provides details in Publication 547.

How do you get relief during a natural disaster?

Taxpayers — individual and businesses — do not need to contact the IRS to receive this relief. If your personal or business address falls within the FEMA-designated disaster area, the IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief.

However, if a taxpayer in an affected area receives notices of late filing or late payment penalties from the IRS with an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number listed on the notice to have the penalty abated.

Paychex also understands that you have no control over natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding nor, for the most part, the recovery that follows. We’d like to make sure you’ve prepared to protect your business. Read how a business continuity plan can aid your efforts.

For additional information on disaster recovery, go to disasterassistance.gov.

andrew gargana headshot
Andrew Gargana is the senior federal compliance analyst for Paychex, Inc., He leads the federal payroll tax compliance activities of the company.
This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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