Washington (Aug. 18, 2003) -- The Northeast blackout of 2003 won't turn into a disaster for taxpayers who missed deadlines for tax returns or payments last week - they're getting an extended deadline, the Internal Revenue Service said.

The IRS will consider on time any tax returns or payments due from Aug. 15 through Friday, Aug. 22, if they are completed by Aug. 22, 2003. One wrinkle -- the law won't allow the agency to abate interest on any overdue taxes during this period.

And while the IRS can't extend the time for making employment and excise tax deposits, it will waive penalties on such deposits due during this period for affected taxpayers due to reasonable cause if the deposits are made by Aug. 22, 2003.

“We recognize that individuals and businesses will need time to recover after the power is restored, which is why we are granting this additional time,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson.

To qualify for this relief, affected taxpayers should put “NORTHEAST BLACKOUT” in red ink at the top of the return relying on this relief. Individuals or businesses located in the blackout area – or taxpayers outside the area that were directly affected by the power blackout – should contact the IRS if they receive penalties for filing returns or paying taxes late.

-- WebCPA staff

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