In the wake of a disaster, the last thing anyone thinks about is taxes. Things like checking on loved ones, food, and shelter, and surveying the damage are at the forefront of the immediate aftermath. However, with clean-up and recovery from a natural disaster taking place over a period that could amount to several years (as the victims of the 2018 Category 5 Hurricane Michael can attest to), filing and paying taxes will become an issue sooner than one thinks.
For the victims of Hurricane Ian, the Category 4 hurricane that devastated large portions of Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina in September 2022, the IRS is providing support to those who were affected. The IRS announced in early October 2022 that any individual or household which is located in a federally declared disaster area (in this case, the entire states of Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina) would have tax relief options available to them. The tax relief comes in the form of an extension until February 15, 2023, to file certain tax returns or make certain tax payments.
- For individual taxpayers who had previously been granted a six-month extension to file their 2021 taxes (meaning they would have been due on October 15, 2022, instead of April 15, 2022), those taxpayers will now have until February 15, 2023, to file. However, if money will be owed to the IRS upon the taxpayer filing their 2021 tax return during this relief period, the IRS has stipulated that payment of that tax liability will not qualify for the February 15th extension.
- For business taxpayers which are facing payment of quarterly estimated income tax payments, filing of quarterly payroll and excise tax returns, and filing of tax returns already on an extension during the relief period, those taxpayers will now have an extension until February 15, 2023, to do so.
The IRS has not granted any relief beyond February 15, 2023, however, with normal tax filing season just around the corner, it can help to be prepared. In the event previous tax records are lost, destroyed, or simply unattainable from the person hired to prepare them, the IRS has a way to request copies of previous years’ tax returns. Furthermore, one of the biggest methods of communication that the IRS will use to reach out to a taxpayer is via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. In the wake of a major disaster, and sometimes for weeks after, getting mail delivered is difficult, if not impossible. There are options with the U.S. Postal Service to have mail either held for pick up, forwarded to a temporary address, or the ability to rent a post office box to ensure the mail gets delivered safely and promptly to its recipient.