The IRS has granted an extension of time to file 2016 income tax returns for individuals and businesses impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The new deadline is January 31, 2018. Eighteen Texas counties are included in this extension – Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, and Wharton. Other counties could be added. In addition, if a taxpayer outside the designated area can demonstrate that records necessary to complete the return are located in the affected area, an extension may be granted.
For example, if your tax preparer is located in the designated area and is in possession of your records, you would likely qualify for an extension. Call the IRS at 866-562-5227 to apply.
Taxpayers in the designated areas automatically receive the extension, as will others if the number of counties is expanded. Should you mistakenly get a penalty notice, call the phone number on the notice to get it waived.
Certain other tax-related deadlines have also been extended. The Oct. 31, 2017, deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns is included in the extension. In addition, the IRS announced that it is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Aug. 23 and before Sept. 7, if the deposits are made by Sept. 7, 2017.
As someone who lives and works in a hurricane-prone area, I have dealt with these situations in the past. As I write this, Irma is out in the Atlantic, threatening my state of Florida. I would remind everyone that hurricane forecasting is an inexact science. These hurricanes often seem to have minds of their own and can be highly unpredictable. In 2004, Charley was in the Gulf and took an unexpected turn to the east. We had about an hour notice before the hurricane hit our city.
I mention this because you should not plan on a hurricane to get you an additional extension. One may come close to you, but miss and do minimal damage to your county. Go ahead and file your returns now. A Federally-declared disaster area extension can’t be counted on until it happens.
Have a tax question? Contact John Stancil