Following the awful storms and landslides in February, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced some great news for the victims. California storm survivors now have until May 15, 2023, to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This is a welcome relief for anyone living or working in any of the counties that have been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If you’re not sure whether you qualify, you can check out the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page on the IRS website for the most up-to-date information.

What does this tax relief cover?

The IRS has extended the tax relief to any area designated by FEMA, which means eligible taxpayers will have until May 15, 2023, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due between January 8, 2023, and May 15, 2023. This includes 2022 individual income tax returns, as well as various 2022 business returns. Farmers who normally file their returns by March 1 will also have until May 15, 2023, to file their 2022 returns and pay any tax due.

In addition, individual taxpayers can skip making the fourth quarter estimated tax payment, normally due January 17, 2023, and instead include it with the 2022 return they file, on or before May 15. The deadline also applies to quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on January 31 and April 30, 2023. Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after January 8, 2023, and before January 23, 2023, will be abated as long as the tax deposits are made by January 23, 2023.

If you live in this disaster area, the IRS will automatically provide filing and penalty relief to you, so there’s no need to contact the agency. However, if you receive 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, be sure to call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

If you’re outside the disaster area but your records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area, the IRS will work with you to provide relief. You can contact them at 866-562-5227.

If you suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, you can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (2023 return normally filed next year) or the return for the prior year (2022, normally filed this tax season). Just remember to write the FEMA declaration number – 3591-EM − on any return claiming a loss.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by the storms and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For more information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.

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