People in Philadelphia and six other Pennsylvania counties affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida and who before the storm had successfully sought a tax deadline extension to Oct. 15 now have until Jan. 3 to file federal and state returns.
The IRS said it would offer relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as qualifying for assistance.
Along with Philadelphia, the extension also applies to Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, Bedford, Northampton, and York Counties. The IRS also provided tax relief to Ida victims in 12 of New Jersey’s 21 counties: Gloucester, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union, and Warren counties. State tax authorities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have followed suit.
“We want people affected by this devastating hurricane focused on their safety and recovery for themselves and their families,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. ”To provide assistance now and in the weeks ahead, we have a variety of different types of relief available to help people and businesses affected by this disaster.”
The Jan. 3 deadline also applies to quarterly payroll tax returns normally due Nov. 1 and to tax-exempt organizations that had extensions due to run out on Nov. 15.
Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred, in 2021, or the return for 2020.
“The last thing anyone impacted by that disaster needs right now is to be incurring late penalties,” said Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax at Betterment, an online wealth management company.
He suggested that late filers also seek to obtain any stimulus payments for which they have yet to file.
The IRS will waive the usual fees and requests for copies of tax returns. Taxpayers should put the disaster designation “New Jersey” or “Pennsylvania – Hurricane Ida” in bold letters at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and submit it to the IRS.
The IRS disaster relief page has details on other returns, payments, and tax-related actions qualifying for the additional time.
What if you live outside those counties? You can still get the relief, providing you can document storm damage. Affected taxpayers who reside or have a business in a disaster area should call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request the same extension.
For procrastinators, tax accountant Jane Scaccetti, founder of Drucker & Scaccetti, advises “file the return. Also, it is not an extension of time to pay since payments were due in April. So, if someone owes, they should file and pay ASAP to reduce penalties and interest on late payment.”
Where’s my refund?
The agency has several millions of individual tax returns yet to process — which include tax year 2020 returns with errors, including those related to the rebate for people who did not get their anti-pandemic stimulus checks. According to one trade group for accountants, the agency is still processing about 10 million filings. On the other hand, it is handling more than 200 million 2020 tax documents.
You can go online to get the status of your refund at the IRS website: Where’s My Refund?.