Wednesday, April 27, 2016

IRS Storm Relief for Houston

As a Houston native it broke my heart to see pictures of the devastation caused by the recent storms. People I care about were impacted, and landmarks I remembered damaged and some even destroyed. But the people of Houston proved stronger than any storm with rescue missions and relief coming from all corners of the city to help one another. And now the IRS is stepping in to do its part.

In the wake of the recent stormy activity this seas, the IRS has stepped in and allowed Texas storm victims in the Houston area to have until September 1, 2016 to file their returns and pay their taxes. The IRS announced that if you're also affiliated with a recognized goverment or philanthropic group assisting in relief efforts, you also qualify for this extension.

This announcement comes after FEMA declared a disaster area for Fayette, Grimes, Harris and Parker counties. The postponment pertains to various tax filing and payment deadlines starting from April 17th 2016, and is for both individuals and businesses in the affected area. This also includes 2015 income tax returns that would have been due on April 18th as well as quarterly tax payments.

Needless to say, the IRS also waived late penalites for federal payroll and excise tax deposits due by April 17 and before May 2 as long as the deposits are made by May 2 2016. The IRS also provides filing and pentalty relief to any taxpayers with an address in the affected areas on file as an IRS address. However, if you do recieve a pentalty notice from the IRS for a late payment or filing taxes, its important to call the number on the notice sent to you to remove the penalty. The IRS has also said it will work with people who live outside the disaster area but whose records needed for fulfilling a deadline are located in the affected area - just contact the IRS and let them know.

Now if you or your business had uninsured or unreimbursed losses due to the recent storms, you can choose to claim them on either the return for this year - which wouldn't be filed until early 2017 - or on an amended return for the tax year 2015.

Things in Houston are rough right now with the recent storms, but through this relief, taxes don't have to be just another problem on your plate. Take advantage of the relief offered should it apply to you and get yourself and your family in a safe environment again before tackling taxes. And communication is vital - if the storms have impacted your area and your ability to pay, don't be afraid to contact the IRS. This relief effort proves they already have these difficulties in mind and perhaps would be open for helping you find a way through your tax issues. And in a time where rebuilding and healing are key, this is one stress you don't have to have on your shoulders.

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