Disaster Relief

In the wake of recent natural disasters, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has granted relief to affected taxpayers. The affected taxpayers are individuals who live in a covered disaster area or who have a business in a covered disaster area.  It would also include those taxpayers who don’t necessarily live in the covered disaster areas but whose records are maintained in the disaster area.  If you are unsure you can visit the IRS webpage and click on your state to see if your area is covered.  All 67 counties in Florida are covered.  Due dates have been extended to January 31, 2018, for those returns that had a valid extension filed and were due on September 15, 2017 or October 15, 2017.  Quarterly estimated payments due September 15, 2017 and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due October 31, 2017, were also extended to January 31, 2018.

If you have a 401K or other employee sponsored plan the rules have been eased to make loans and hardship distributions for victims in affected areas. Substantiation rules have been relaxed and withdrawals can be for any type of current necessity such as food or shelter.  Taxpayers who live outside the affected areas can still benefit from this relief by helping a son, daughter, parent, grandparent, or other dependent who lives or works in one of the affected areas.  Hardship withdrawals must be taken by January 31, 2018, although still subject to tax and early withdrawal penalty.  Loans must still be repaid or they will be treated as taxable distributions.

Donated leave is another option people can do to help out victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Employees can donate their unused vacation, sick, or personal leave to a leave-based organization without first recognizing wage income.  The employer gets the deduction and it must occur by January 1, 2018.  The donation must be made to qualified charitable organizations that provide relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

For specific relief information, contact your DSWD team member.