Tax deadlines extended for tornado victims

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Victims of the April tornadoes, as well as the storms and flooding in Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina have until October to file various federal individual and business returns and make tax payments.

The IRS is offering relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for individual assistance.

Currently this includes Clarke, Covington, Grenada, Jasper, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lawrence, Panola and Walthall Counties in Mississippi; Bradley and Hamilton Counties in Tennessee; and Aiken, Barnwell, Berkeley, Colleton, Hampton, Marlboro, Oconee, Orangeburg and Pickens Counties in South Carolina.

Taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on April 12. Affected individuals and businesses will have until Oct. 15, 2020, to file returns and pay any taxes originally due during this period. This includes 2019 individual and business returns that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, were due on July 15.

This also means that affected taxpayers will have until Oct. 15 to make 2019 IRA contributions.

The Oct. 15 deadline also applies to estimated tax payments for the first two quarters of 2020 that were due on July 15, and the third-quarter estimated tax payment normally due on Sept. 15. It also includes the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on April 30 and July 31.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after April 12 and before April 27 will be abated as long as the deposits were made by April 27.

The IRS automatically provides filing and payment relief to any taxpayer with an address of record located in the disaster area. 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 in the affected area. This also includes workers assisting relief activities that are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at (866) 562-5227 once normal agency operations resume. For information on services currently available from the IRS, visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus.

In a related development, Notice 2020-48 postpones until Oct. 31 certain federal excise tax filing and payment deadlines, and associated interest, penalties and additions to tax, for taxpayers who owe a federal excise tax for sales of sport fishing or archery equipment for the second quarter of 2020.

This applies to taxpayers with a federal sporting goods excise tax payment due and the requirement to file a return under the sport fishing and archery equipment numbers (Part II of Form 720) on July 31 and is determined to be affected by the COVID-19 emergency for purposes of relief. The notice, which tells taxpayers how to take advantage of the postponement, will appear in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2020-29 on July 13.

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