tax news — September 11, 2012

Tax Relief for Hurricane Isaac Victims

by Jeff McDougall

hurricane damageIf your hometown was one of the unlucky ones "visited" by Hurricane Isaac recently, paying your taxes probably isn't first on your to-do list. Repairing storm damage, drying out, and getting life back to normal pretty much sit at the top of any lists in those storm-soaked areas.

The IRS recognizes the stress and difficulty taxpayers may have after a storm of Isaac's magnitude. So, the agency has
granted some tax relief for Gulf Coast taxpayers struggling to recover. While you still have to pay your taxes, the due dates have been pushed back to give you a little extra time.

The relief is in the form of extensions for various tax filings and other tax-related duties. Affected individuals and
businesses have until Jan. 11, 2013, to file 2011 returns that were on extension, which includes corporations, and other businesses that would normally have filed by Sept. 17 of this year, and individuals who would have filed by October 15.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred on or after Aug. 26. As a result, affected
individuals and businesses will have until January 11, 2013 to file these returns and pay any taxes due. This includes corporations and businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 17 of this year to file their 2011 returns and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 15. It also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter of
2012, normally due Sept. 17.

The IRS will set aside any interest, late-payment or late-filing penalty that would otherwise apply. In addition, the IRS is waiving failure-to-deposit penalties for federal employment and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Aug. 26 and before Sept. 10, if the deposits were made by Sept. 10, 2012. Details on available relief, including information on how to claim a disaster loss by amending a prior-year tax return, can be found on the disaster relief page on

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by the hurricane and is based on local damage
assessments by FEMA. If you need more information on disaster recovery, check out

So far, IRS filing and payment relief applies only to these localities:

  • In Louisiana: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes;
  • In Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl counties.

If you live in another coastal Louisiana parish or Mississippi county, check the IRS website, on a regular basis. Your county could be added to the list at a later time.

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