Tax deadlines extended for Imelda victims

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Victims of Tropical Storm Imelda in parts of Texas, including the Houston area, now have until late January to file various federal individual and business returns and make tax payments.

The Internal Revenue Service is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently this includes Chambers, Harris, Jefferson, Liberty, Montgomery and Orange Counties in Texas, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. (The current list of eligible localities is always available on the IRS disaster relief page.

Affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31 to file returns and pay taxes originally due after mid-September. Individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2018 return due to run out on Oct. 15 now have until Jan. 31 to file. Because tax payments related to these 2018 returns were due on April 15, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

The Jan. 31 deadline also applies to quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Jan. 15 and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31. It also applies to tax-exempt organizations, operating on a calendar-year basis, that had a valid extension due to run out on Nov. 15. Businesses with extensions also have the additional time including, among others, calendar-year corporations whose 2018 extensions run out on Oct. 15.

Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Sept. 17 and before Oct. 2 will be abated as long as the deposits were made by Oct. 2, 2019.

If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS 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 work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area.

Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to call (866) 562-5227.

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