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IRS Gives Tax Relief in Hurricane Zone

Filings, payments are delayed in certain counties hit by the storm

Residents of some areas hard hit by Hurricane Irene are getting a break from the Internal Revenue Service. The agency says people and businesses in select counties now busy with hurricane clean-ups will be able to put off sending in certain returns and payments.

Sign up for AARP's Money Newsletter.

Quarterly estimated tax payments normally due on Sept. 15 can be put off until Oct. 31.

People and businesses that had earlier obtained tax return extensions until Sept. 15 or Oct. 17 will be allowed to delay filing until Oct. 31.

And the IRS is waiving — until Sept. 9 — the penalties that companies must pay when they fail to deposit certain taxes on time.

Relief workers who are helping the designated counties recover also may qualify for the measures, regardless of where they live.

Details vary. Before putting off filing or payments, go to this IRS webpage to see if you qualify.

So far, the following counties have received approval for the measures:

  • North Carolina: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrell.
  •  New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Somerset.
  • New York: Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie and Ulster.
  • Puerto Rico: Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cayey, Loiza, Luquillo and San Juan.
  • Vermont: Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor.

Other states and counties are likely to be added as the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues its assessment of damage. The IRS is posting updates on this webpage.

But there’s one measure that’s already nationwide. It applies to taxpayers, most of them corporations, partnerships and trusts, that had obtained filing extensions to Sept. 15, the IRS says. Regardless of where they’re located, they can delay another week if their tax preparers were located in areas that were under evacuations order or severe weather warnings because of Irene.

Information about storm-related assistance in general can be found at DisasterAssistance.gov.

Also of interest: Katrina — 5 years after the disaster. >>

John Burgess is an associate editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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