Victims of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding early last month in parts of Oklahoma may qualify for tax relief from the IRS.

The service announced the relief following recent disaster declarations for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and may add other locations based on additional damage assessments by FEMA. The president has declared Cleveland, Grady, and Oklahoma Counties a federal disaster area.

Individuals who reside or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief. Certain deadlines falling on or after May 5 and on or before Aug. 31 have been postponed to Aug. 31. This includes the May 15 deadline for many tax-exempt organizations to file their annual Form 990 and the June 15 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected, including the July 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.

If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.

Among other details:

  • The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this relief.
  • The postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1098, 1099 series, or to Forms 1042-S or 8027. Penalties for failure to timely file information returns can be waived under existing procedures for reasonable cause. Likewise, the postponement does not apply to employment and excise tax deposits.
  • Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.
  • The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers.
  • Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.

Taxpayers may download forms and publications from irs.gov or order them by calling (800) 829-3676.

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