Disastrous Tax Issues: A Review & Last Minute Details

Eva Rosenberg, Tax Advisor

Generally, whenever a major disaster strikes in the United States, the president issues a declaration – which triggers some special tax breaks and extensions for those in the disaster area.

In this case, President Trump has issued declarations for 9 disasters,  since taking office. We know there will be one for Hurricane Irma. But, so far, he has not issued the usual declaration for the Los Angeles – La Tuna fires. (But that’s a whole other discussion.)

The most important tax break facing us right now is – additional time. On September 15, we had several things due. The 3rd quarter estimated tax payment for individuals and businesses; the final filing deadline for calendar-year partnerships, S corporations, and trusts (if they were on extension); and certain payroll tax deposits for the previous quarter… Then we have another set of deadlines on October 15th (only 2 days away!) for personal and C corporation tax returns – and the rest of the taxes that are due.

Disaster areas with qualifying presidential disaster declarations have additional time to file returns, forms and payments – without incurring penalties. Although interest will continue to accrue. For the most part, the IRS has announced that Hurricane Harvey victims have until January 31, 2018 to file their forms and pay the relevant taxes. Folks in Virginia’s storm areas in July have until November 30, 2017. Victims of Michigan’s June storms have until October 31, 2017.

It’s important to look up the information related to your state in order to learn if you are entitled to the special tax breaks.

Another valuable benefit of the presidential declaration is to allow taxpayers to report their casualty losses in one of three different years. They can report the loss in the year before the event, the year of the event, or the year when the losses are settled with the insurance company. This makes it possible for you to either get faster refunds, for much needed immediate cash; or to take your losses in the year that gives you the best tax break.

Have a question? Contact Eva Rosenberg 

Your comments are welcome!

TaxMama® has decades of experience in many areas of taxation, with intimate knowledge of the vagaries of many, many industries. She provides free tax guidance to tax professionals and the public. A Dow Jones journalist and columnist/blogger on several corporate and Accounting websites. Provides a special series of courses to tax professionals, called the Tax Practice Series, to teach tax pros to represent clients before the IRS (and their states). Teaches the only comprehensive tax course online to those wanting to pass the IRS’ Special Enrollment Examination (aka the Enrolled Agent Exam or EA exam).

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