IRS says victims of Hurricane Michael will get tax filing relief

Rescuers airlift people stranded by Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- The Internal Revenue Service says victims of Hurricane Michael will get a grace period before having to file some tax returns and payments. 

The IRS said Friday it's offering relief "to any Major Disaster Declaration area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for either individual or public assistance. Currently, this only includes parts of Florida, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief."

Individuals who had a valid extension to Oct. 15 for filing their 2017 return now will have until Feb. 28, 2019, to file. Because tax payments related to the 2017 returns were due on April 18, however, those payments don't qualify for relief.   

The new Feb. 28 deadline also applies to quarterly estimated income-tax payments normally due on Jan. 15, 2019, and to quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on Oct. 31, 2018 and Jan. 31, 2019. The IRS says it will automatically provide relief for people with addresses in the counties designated a disaster area. 

The IRS said in a news release it is taking this step "due to the unusual factors involving Hurricane Michael and the interaction with the Oct. 15 extension deadline."  

"We recognize the devastation this historic storm caused for many taxpayers, and IRS employees stand ready to support the disaster recovery effort as they have done many times in the past," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the news release.

Taxpayers who qualify for relief but live outside the disaster area can call the IRS at 866-562-5227. 

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