On October 7, 2019, the IRS announced that victims of Tropical Storm Imelda in parts of Texas (including the Houston area) have until January 31, 2020 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.
The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. At present, this includes Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery and Orange counties in Texas. Taxpayers in localities added to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.
This tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred beginning on September 17, 2019. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until January 31, 2020 to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This also means that individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2018 return due to run out on October 15, 2019, will now have until January 31, 2020, to file. However, the IRS stated that because tax payments related to these 2018 returns were due on April 15, 2019, those payments are not eligible for this relief.
The January 31, 2020 deadline also applies to quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 15, 2020, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2019. It also applies to tax-exempt organizations, operating on a calendar-year basis, that had a valid extension due to run out on November 15, 2019. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year corporations whose 2018 extensions run out on October 15, 2019.
In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after September 17, 2019, and before October 2, 2019, will be abated if the deposits are made by October 2, 2019.
The IRS disaster relief page has details on other returns, payments and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.
The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. However, 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.
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 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 workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.