Washington (Sept. 13, 2004) -- The Internal Revenue Service has granted special tax relief for Florida taxpayers in the Presidential Disaster Area that was struck by Hurricane Frances beginning Sept. 3.

It also lengthened the extension period that it had earlier granted for the disaster area counties struck by the storms Bonnie and Charley, most of which are also in the latest disaster area. Taxpayers in either disaster area generally will have until Dec. 30 to file tax returns and submit tax payments. The IRS will abate interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would apply.

IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson said that the severity of this hurricane season, compounded by multiple storms hitting the same counties, led the agency to provide a longer period of tax relief than usual.

For the purposes of this tax relief, affected taxpayers include individuals and businesses located in the disaster area, those whose tax records are located in the disaster area, and relief workers. The same relief will also apply to any places added to the disaster area.

The Hurricane Frances disaster area consists of 36 counties: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Levy, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia.

Among the tax relief details:

  • The Federal Tax Deposit Penalty Waiver Period for employment and excise tax deposits is Sept. 3-20, 2004. The Extension Period for returns and other tax payments is Sept. 3 - Dec. 30, 2004.
  • The Disaster Designation for this area is “Hurricane Frances” -- taxpayers should mark certain relief-related forms with this designation in red.
  • The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until the last day of the extension period to perform certain other time-sensitive actions due to be performed during this period, including the filing of Form 5500 series returns.
  • To qualify for relief, affected taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation in red ink at the top of the return, except for Form 5500, where filers should check Box D in Part 1 and attach a statement, following the form’s instructions.

Individuals or businesses located in the disaster area -- or taxpayers outside the area that were directly affected by the disaster -- should contact the IRS if they receive penalties for filing returns or paying taxes late. For additional information, visit www.irs.gov.
-- WebCPA staff

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