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Tax Deadline for Small Businesses Hit Hard by the February Winter Storm

The winter storms that hit Texas and other states beginning on February 11, 2021 made headlines worldwide. Unfortunately, the storms’ severity and an infrastructure ill-equipped  to handle resulting utility and service demands led to loss of life and unprecedented damage in many communities. Recognizing that victims could benefit from assistance, the IRS extended tax filing and payment deadlines for some taxpayers.

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In which states have small business taxpayers received a filing extension?

The IRS tax filing extension initially applied to taxpayers located anywhere in the state of Texas. In addition, the extension is available to anyone located outside Texas in an area where there was a similar FEMA federal disaster declaration. The IRS Disaster Relief page lists all current areas, which now include individuals and businesses located in all 77 counties of Oklahoma and in all 64 parishes of Louisiana.

A tax filing extension is also available for relief, philanthropic, or governmental workers active in the covered area,  as well as any individual visiting the covered area when the storm struck and was killed or injured as a result.

If your home or principal place of business was affected by the winter storm but you do not live in a covered area, you may still be eligible for an extension if the records you need to meet your tax filing deadline are in a covered disaster area. To request tax relief consideration from the IRS under these circumstances, taxpayers should call 866-562-5227.  

What is the new due date for affected winter storm tax filers?

Instead of the original tax filing and payment deadline for individual and business taxes for the year ending December 31, 2020, winter storm tax filers now have until June 15, 2021 to file returns and pay anything owed to the IRS. This extension applies to tax deadlines which originally fell between February 8, 2021 and June 15, 2021, including individual income taxes normally due on April 15, business returns due on March 15, and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.  

The deadline for first quarter estimated tax payments for self-employed individuals, including estimated income tax and self-employment tax, has also been extended to June 15, 2021.

Is the 2021 winter storm tax filing extension for individuals and businesses?

Yes! The IRS tax deadline extension applies to individuals who live in a covered disaster area, as well as to any company whose principal place of business is in a covered disaster area. It is not necessary for residents of Texas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, or businesses located in these states, to request this extension; the IRS automatically identifies individual and business taxpayers in these areas and applies the relief.

Is there tax relief available for victims of February’s severe winter storm?

In addition to the deadline extension for filing and payment of taxes, individuals in the covered disaster areas also have until June 15, 2021 to make 2020 IRA contributions, which may help lower their overall tax bills.

Penalties that would have normally applied for deposits due between February 8 and February 23, 2021 are also abated, as long as those deposits were ultimately made by February 23, 2021. And taxpayers in affected areas who need copies of previously filed tax returns may obtain them without paying the normal fees.

Finally, individuals and businesses who suffered disaster-related losses for which they were not insured or reimbursed may be able claim these losses on their 2020 tax returns referencing the FEMA declaration number, rather than waiting to claim the losses on their 2021 tax returns.

Are state and local tax deadlines also extended for affected taxpayers?

The tax deadline extensions and related tax relief measures described above are specific to federal taxes. If you or your business are required to file and pay state or local taxes, check with those tax authorities to determine whether they have also extended applicable deadlines or offer tax relief. If you need guidance or assistance with your individual or business income tax filings, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable legal assistance tailored to your needs.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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