Current Federal Tax Developments

View Original

Filing Date Relief Provided for Victims of Northern California Wildfires

The IRS has announced filing due date relief for victims of the wildfires in Northern California in IRS News Release IR-2017-172. The relief postpones tax filing deadlines beginning on October 8, 2017 to January 31, 2018 for affected individuals.

The IRS summarizes the affected filing deadlines as follows:

This includes the Jan. 16, 2018 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2016 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017. The IRS noted, however, that because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected, including the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on Nov. 15, 2017 also qualify for the extra time.

The relief will also delay payroll tax deposit deadlines.  As the release provides:

In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due after Oct. 8 and before Oct. 23, if the deposits are made by Oct. 23, 2017. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on

Taxpayers that have a mailing address of record in the disaster area do not need to contact the IRS, but rather are supposed to receive the relief automatically.  Despite this, the notice takes into account that the system doesn’t always work as expected, noting that “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.”

The IRS also will provide relief to those who do not live in the area, but whose records are located within the disaster area.  The IRS provides such advice in this case:

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. This also includes firefighters and workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

The news release also provides information to victims, reminding them that disaster related casualty losses either in the year the loss occurred or in the prior year.