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Tax relief coming for victims of Hurricane Irma

  • Sep 13, 2017 | Gail Cole

 You shouldn't have to worry about taxes in the wake of a natural disaster.

Updated 9.14.2017

It’s too early for most people hit by Hurricane Irma to even consider possible tax relief. Some Floridians are just returning home, while those who stayed are beginning the long, slow process of cleaning up. Millions remain without power and some may have to wait more than a week for it to be restored. Furthermore, offices for the Florida Department of Revenue in more than 15 counties are closed as of this writing, though they’re opening as quickly as they can.

Federal tax relief

The Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief is available for residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida. Relief will also be available for taxpayers located in areas added later to the disaster area, such as Georgia. According to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “The IRS will continue to closely monitor the storm’s aftermath, and we anticipate providing additional relief for other affected areas in the near future.”

Affected taxpayers have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain business and individual tax returns and make payments without penalty.

The IRS should automatically identify taxpayers located in disaster areas. However, any taxpayer adversely affected by Hurricane Irma who isn’t automatically granted tax relief should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227 to request it.

State tax relief

The Alabama Department of Revenue has already announced tax relief for victims of Hurricane Irma. As with federal tax relief, state taxpayers have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file tax returns due on or after Sept. 15, 2017, and before Jan. 31, 2018. Those seeking relief should write “Irma Relief – 2017” in red ink on any state paper return or report relying on the extension. Additional information.

Both Georgia and Indiana have suspended International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requirements for operators of commercial vehicles traveling through the states to provide disaster relief in Florida.

The District of Columbia has announced it will follow the federal tax filing extensions for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. However, extensions will not be granted for District sales and use tax returns or District withholding. Additional information.

Other states have yet to announce specific tax relief, although states provide this relief for taxpayers located in declared disaster areas. Check with the Florida Department of Revenue for additional information.

Tax agencies recommend that taxpayers living in disaster-prone areas prepare for potential disasters. Learn more.

Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.