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Last week at my other tax blog: Disaster assistance; Clergy's housing break

Conn., Mass. and N.H. residents get Hurricane Irene-related tax extensions

Mother Nature has turned into Mommie Dearest.

Texas is burning while the eastern half of the country is flooded. And those are just the latest weather happenings.

In cases where severe weather wreaks total havoc, a major disaster is declared. Unfortunately, this happens way too often, meaning I blog about the tax implications of catastrophes over and over and over again, most recently in discussing the wildfires here in my home state.

Bastrop, Texas, fire Sept. 6, 2011_National Guard photo Two Texas National Guard UH-60 Blackhawks fly over the flames to dump water filled Bambi Buckets. The Guard crews launched out of the Austin Army Aviation Facility to fight wildfires threatening homes and property near Bastrop, Texas, on Sept. 6, 2011. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon)

The Lone Star State's fire ravaged areas have been declared major disaster areas.

The same designation is likely in the works for parts of Pennsylvania swamped by remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

It takes the Federal Emergency Management Agency some time to evaluate the many situations across the country and make its recommendations for relief. That process is why declarations in connection with Hurricane Irene are still coming in.

Since my post a week ago about Internal Revenue Service announcing relief to Eastern Seaboard residents dealing with that tropical system's damages, the IRS has added more cities, counties and states to the Irene list.

Now some taxpayers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire get some extra filing time. In addition, some new areas have been added to previous disaster area designations.

Here's the full tax relief list, so far, of Irene affected locales:

  • Connecticut -- Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, Tolland and Windham;
  • Massachusetts: Berkshire and Franklin;
  • New Hampshire: Carroll and Grafton;
  • North Carolina -- Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington and Wilson;
  • New Jersey -- Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren;
  • New York -- Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Montgomery, Nassau, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Suffolk, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester;
  • Vermont -- Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor; and
  • Puerto Rico -- Arroyo, Aguas Buenas, Caguas, Canovanas, Carolina, Cayey, Cidra, Coamo, Comerio, Humacao, Jayuya, Juncos, Loiza, Luquillo, Orocovis, Patillas, Ponce and San Juan.

Available tax relief: In each of these areas, deadlines for several tax filings have been extended to Oct. 31.

For instance, says the Internal Revenue Service, most tax due dates falling on or after Aug. 29 and on or before Oct. 31 have been postponed to Oct. 31.

The new Oct. 31 deadline covers corporations and other businesses that previously received an extension until Sept. 15 to file their 2010 returns, as well as individuals and businesses that got a filing extension until Oct. 17.

And if you file estimated taxes, the third payment normally due on Sept. 15 also is postponed until the end of October.

In addition, the IRS also is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for certain employment and excise tax deposits due from businesses. 

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster areas and applies automatic filing and payment relief.

Taxpayers who live or have businesses outside the covered disaster areas but who sustained storm damage should call the toll-free IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request tax relief.

And, as noted, other locations could be added in coming days after additional damage assessments by FEMA.

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