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Tax relief granted for Laura victims

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Victims of Hurricane Laura have until Dec. 31, 2020, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

The IRS offers this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for individual assistance. In Louisiana, this currently includes Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon Parishes, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same relief.

The list of eligible localities is on the disaster relief page of IRS.gov.

The relief postpones various filing and payment deadlines that started on Aug. 22. Affected individuals and businesses will have until Dec. 31 to file returns and pay taxes that were originally due during this period. This also means that individuals who had an extension to file their 2019 return on Oct. 15 now have until Dec. 31 to file.

Federal tax payments related to these 2019 returns (that were due on July 15) are not eligible for this relief.

The December deadline also applies to quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 15 and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on Nov. 2, as well as to tax-exempt organizations operating on a calendar-year basis that had a valid extension due to run out on Nov. 16. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year corporations with 2019 extensions running out on Oct. 15.

Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due after Aug. 22 and before Sept. 8 will be abated as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 8.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. If an affected taxpayer receives a federal late filing or late payment penalty notice 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 will also work with taxpayers who live 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 includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2020 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2019). Write the FEMA declaration number 4559 in Louisiana on any return claiming a loss.

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Tax relief Natural disasters Disaster recovery IRS Tax forms FEMA
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