Tax relief granted to California wildfire victims

Victims of the wildfires ravaging parts of California now have until Jan. 31 to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, the IRS said.

This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions that run out this Monday, Oct. 16.

Currently, the IRS is providing relief to seven California counties: Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba. Individuals and businesses in these localities, as well as firefighters and relief workers who live elsewhere, qualify for the extension. The agency may provide other relief to these and other affected localities in the future.

The relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Oct. 8. Affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31 to file returns and pay any taxes originally due during this period. This includes the Jan. 16 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments and, for individual filers, also includes 2016 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16. (Because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.)

Resident views personal items burned by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017.
A resident views personal items burned by wildfires in Santa Rosa, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Wildfires that tore through northern California's iconic wine-growing regions have prompted evacuations of more than 20,000 people, killed 11 and damaged some of the most valuable vineyards and wineries in the U.S. About 1,500 commercial, residential and industrial structures were burned, and damage assessment teams have started accounting for the destruction. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A number of business tax deadlines are also affected, including the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on Nov. 15 also qualify for the extra time. The IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due after Oct. 8 and before Oct. 23, if the deposits are made by Oct. 23, 2017.

Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS 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.

The IRS will also work with taxpayers who live outside the disaster area but have records in the affected area that are necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area need to contact the IRS at (866) 562-5227. This also includes firefighters and workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

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