Recovery Resources for 2017 Hurricane Season: Harvey and Irma

UPDATED September 20, 2017: The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has announced that it will extend disaster tax relief to the entire state of Georgia, including the extension of filing and payment deadlines. The deadline extensions parallel relief given to Florida victims of Hurricane Irma, extending most filing and payment deadlines to January 31, 2018. For links to more resources, including the FEMA Georgia disaster declaration and the full IRS statement, please refer to the resource links at the end of this article.
UPDATED September 18, 2017: The Florida Department of Revenue has announced that the due date for tax returns and estimated payments have been extended to February 15, 2018.
The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will abate penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits that were due between September 4 and September 19, 2017, for taxpayers affected by Hurricane Irma. In order to qualify, the deposits have to have been made by September 19, 2017. The IRS says they are committed to waiving fees for hurricane victims and to processing requests for copies of tax returns as quickly as possible for anyone impacted by the storm.
More updates and resources are available in the links at the end of this article.

If you, your business or both were affected by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma this season, there are deadline extensions and resources you should know about. Whether you need more time to file tax returns or pay tax liabilities, or you need to know where to file claims with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), use this article as a launching point for finding the help you need. (And hold onto it just in case Hurricane Jose comes through behind Hurricane Irma.)

In the coming weeks, we’ll be updating the resource links in this article and making a note as to when they have been updated. Look for the state where you or your business is located. Under each state, you’ll find links (as they become available) to:

  • IRS declarations of which counties qualify for tax filing extensions
  • Important FEMA declarations
  • State government resources

General Information

Not sure if you’re eligible for government assistance? Visit FEMA’s official disaster assistance website to check your eligibility, start an online application, and track the status of that application. There are links to other important recovery resources there, too.

The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) extended tax filing deadlines for areas of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

For Texas taxpayers, certain deadlines that fall on or after August 23, 2017, but before January 31, 2018, have been granted a filing extension through January 31, 2018. This includes, but is not limited to, deadlines for:

  • Taxpayers who already had a valid extension to file their 2016 returns by October 16, 2017
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments that were originally due on September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns that were originally due on October 31, 2017

Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits that were due on or after August 23, 2017, and before September 7, 2017, will be abated, as long as the deposits were made by September 7, 2017.  The IRS has also committed to waiving fees and expediting requests for copies of tax returns for impacted taxpayers.

For more specific details and to find out if you qualify, read the full IRS notice about tax deadline extensions for Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

UPDATE: The IRS has announced that they will give the same January 31 extension to victims of Hurricane Irma. The full list of IRS articles and resources for Hurricane Irma is available on the agency’s website.

If you claim disaster-related losses on your income tax return, you can choose whether to claim those losses for the year in which the event occurred or the year prior to the disaster. Our alert, “How Can You Get the Most Value When You Deduct Casualty Losses?” has more details, as does IRS Publication 547. Your Cherry Bekaert professional can answer your questions, too.

If you need to replace property as a direct result of these storms, special tax provisions related to involuntary conversions can help you avoid recognizing gain from the receipt of insurance proceeds. You may also be eligible for deadline extensions that are available to complete 1031 exchanges (sometimes called like-kind exchanges). Get details in the article, “Replacing Property after Disasters: Deadline Extensions and Rules to Know.

It’s worth noting that when you’re filing claims with the government and on your tax returns, you can only claim losses that aren’t covered by insurance or other reimbursements.

Beware of Scams

Unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of the good will and generosity of others when disaster strikes. If you feel the desire to reach out and help victims, make sure you make your donations through reputable, nationally-recognized organizations. For best practices and red flags to watch out for, check out the IRS article, “Beware of Fake Charity Scams Relating to Hurricane Harvey.

Next Action Steps

Have questions about how these hurricanes will affect any of your tax deadlines? Reach out to a Cherry Bekaert advisor in your region for a consultation about your situation.

Need help dealing with recovery and assessing your business loss claims? Reach out to the Litigation Support team and tell them you have questions specifically about their Insurance Recovery services.

Whatever you do, know that you aren’t alone as you get back on the road to normal. There are resources and support out there for you.

State-Specific Information and Resources

Please check this section regularly for updates.

Texas

Florida

Georgia

For Any State or Territory Affected by Hurricane Irma

Additional Reading

How Can You Get the Most Value When You Deduct Casualty Losses?
Replacing Property after Disasters: Deadline Extensions and Rules to Know
Best Way to Start Recovery after Hurricane Harvey
Insurance Recovery Services Guide (PDF)