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September 1, 2017

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IRS announces tax relief options for victims of Hurricane Harvey

Estimates for damage caused by Hurricane Harvey are already close to $200 billion. These estimates are more than just numbers; they represent people’s homes and livelihood. A recent report by USA Today notes that individuals are scrambling to figure out where to live, what pieces of property are salvageable and whether or not their jobs will continue to exist after the storm clears out.

The last thing these victims need to worry about: taxes.

Thankfully, the IRS appears to agree. The federal agency recently announced that various tax relief options are available for qualifying victims. 

Who can get relief? Relief options are available for those who live directly within impacted areas. In some cases, even those who do not live in these areas can get some form of relief. Here’s more clarification:

  • Residents of qualifying counties. Those who live in certain qualifying counties automatically receive relief. Current examples include Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, Galveston, Jackson, Montgomery, San Jacinto and Wharton. The IRS may add to the list of counties. An updated list is available on their website.
  • Nonresidents. In some instances a person that does not live in a listed county can also get relief. In order to take advantage of these options the taxpayer generally needs to contact the IRS to request relief. This can include those who are providing assistance to victims or those who do not live in the county but have their business operations in the area.

What kind of relief is available? Many tax deadlines are pushed back. This allows taxpayers to focus on more immediate concerns and worry about tax obligations at a later date.

report by CBS News notes that the extensions basically apply to any tax bills that were due somewhere between August 23, 2017 and January 31, 2018. These bills are now given an extension through January 31, 2018. This includes extensions to income tax returns for 2016 as well as quarterly tax payments that are scheduled during this time period.

IRS