The Internal Revenue Service is giving tax relief to both individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Irene, which hit the East Coast last weekend.

The IRS said Thursday that certain taxpayers in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Puerto Rico will receive tax relief, and other locations are expected to be added in coming days following additional damage assessments by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The tax relief from the IRS postpones some tax filing and payment deadlines to Oct. 31, 2011. It includes corporations and businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 15, 2011, to file their 2010 returns, and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 17. The relief also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter of 2011, which would normally be due Sept. 15.

Full details, including the start date for the relief in various locations and information on how to claim a disaster loss by amending a prior-year tax return, can be found in tax relief announcements for individual states on IRS.gov.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by the hurricane and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, individuals should visit disasterassistance.gov.

Filing and payment relief is currently available to taxpayers in federal disaster areas declared in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York State and Puerto Rico. The IRS said it also plans to announce tax relief for taxpayers in other areas as damage assessments continue. Vermont, for example, has suffered devastating damage from the hurricane.

The IRS is encouraging taxpayers and tax practitioners to monitor Tax Relief in Disaster Situations on its IRS.gov site for updates.

So far, IRS filing and payment relief applies to the following counties and municipalities:

• In North Carolina: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell;
• In New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Somerset;
• In New York: Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie and Ulster; and
• In Puerto Rico: Caguas, Canovanas, Carolina, Cayey, Loiza, Luquillo and San Juan.

On Thursday night, the IRS later said that it was giving a one-week extension to taxpayers whose tax preparers had been affected by Hurricane Irene. Taxpayers whose preparers were affected by the hurricane will have until Sept. 22 to file the returns that are normally due on Sept. 15. The tax preparer must be located in an area that was under an evacuation order or a severe weather warning because of Hurricane Irene, even if the preparer is located outside of the federally declared disaster areas. This relief, which mainly applies to corporations, partnerships and trusts that previously obtained a tax-filing extension, is available to taxpayers regardless of their location. However, the IRS added that the tax relief does not apply to any tax payment requirements.

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