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Aug. 15 is new tax deadline for disaster-struck California and Florida counties

Coastal flooding in a Florida community_Barry Bahler_Wikipedia Commons_FEMA-37590-1
Coastal flooding in a Florida community. (Photo by Barry Bahler via Wikipedia Commons)

They may be more than 3,100 miles apart, but residents of counties in California and Florida now have a couple of things in common.

They recently were pummeled by major disasters.

They now have an Aug. 15 deadline to meet certain federal tax responsibilities.

Florida flooding: The Internal Revenue Service is offering relief to those who live or have businesses in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster designation are of South Florida that endured tornadoes, severe storms, and flooding from April 12 to April 14.

The FEMA declaration and IRS tax relief specifically covers Broward County households and businesses. If other areas are added later to the disaster area, folks in those locales also will qualify for the same relief.

FEMA Florida Broward Dec4709_May 2 2023

The affected Sunshine State residents now have an Aug. 15 deadline. More on the specifics in a moment.

California calamity continues: Across the country, FEMA has issued another round of disaster declaration. The Golden State already was battered in January, and residents in those affected areas were given until Oct. 16 to deal with a variety of 2022 and 2023 tax year tasks.

Now, similar relief has been granted to Californians in Modoc County who were hit by severe winter storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides and mudslides that began on Feb. 21. Until now, this county had not been included in any prior FEMA disaster declarations.

UPDATE, May 26, 2023: Today, the IRS added Shasta County, which is southwest of Modoc County, to the relief declaration. Residents and businesses in that Northern California also get the same tax relief and extended filing time.

California FEMA Dec4699_Modoc County addition_May 4 2023

Like their cross-country catastrophe compatriot cohorts, the affected California households and businesses in these two Golden State counties have an Aug. 15 due date for a variety of federal tax tasks.

Relief for both states: Basically, affected California and Florida residents have until Aug. 15 to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during their respective disaster periods.

This gives Modoc and Shasta County, California, taxpayers more time to file their 2022 individual income tax returns and various business returns that were due on March 15 and April 18. In addition to more time to file their forms, they also have until the new Aug. 15 deadline to pay any tax originally due on these returns.

As for businesses in the county, quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on May 1 and July 31 now are due Aug. 15. Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Feb. 21, and before March 8, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by March 8.

And Modoc-and-Shasta-based farmers who choose to forgo making the January estimated tax payment and normally would have filed their 2022 tax year returns by March 1 but didn't due to the severe weather, now have until Aug. 15 to file those returns and pay any tax due.

For Broward County, Floridians, the Aug. 15 due date applies to various tax filing and payment deadlines that started on April 12. This applies to 2022 individual income tax returns and various business returns that were originally due on April 18.

Florida businesses in Broward have until Aug. 15 to make quarterly payroll and excise tax returns that were due on May 1 and will be due July 31. Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after April 12 and before April 27, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by April 27.

Dual disaster relief: Disaster areas resident in both states' counties will get the extra tax filing and paying time even if they didn't file Form 4868 by April 18 to request a tax-filing extension.

The affected California and Florida taxpayers also will have until Aug. 15 to —

  • make 2022 contributions to their IRAs and health savings accounts; and
  • pay quarterly estimated tax amounts that were due on April 18 and normally are due on June 15.

If the Florida or California taxpayers can't make their new Aug. 15 deadline to file and pay their 2022 taxes, they can request an extension. This will give them until Oct. 16. But the extension must be made by filing a paper Form 4868, since extensions cannot be e-filed after the original Tax Day, which was April 18 this year.

And while the IRS will automatically identify taxpayers located in the California and Florida major disaster area counties and apply the appropriate filing and payment relief, it also recognizes that severe weather's effects extend beyond declaration boundaries.

For example, some taxpayers in other counties may be affected because they use tax services or have tax documents in the disaster area.

In these cases, taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area should call the IRS disaster toll-free hotline (866) 562-5227 to request the same tax relief afforded those in the disaster declaration counties.

Potential tax deductions and timing: In addition to the deadline extensions and penalty relief considerations, federal tax law also provides those who've endured a major disaster the option to claim any uninsured losses as a tax deduction.

Affected taxpayers also get to decide which tax year to use to make the claims. They can choose the year it happened, which in these cases would be claims on 2023 returns filed next year. Or they can be claimed in the prior tax year, which in this case are the returns that now have a postponed Aug. 15 due date.

In determining which year in which to count the losses, run the numbers carefully. While it might be tempting to make a claim so that you can get any tax money as soon as possible to help with repairs, it might be better to wait. You'll want to make sure you use the tax year that produces the better, and by that I mean larger, tax savings.

In either case, all tax and financial factors need to be examined, such as your current and last year's tax bracket, and any other deductions you may be able to claim in either year.

You can find more about disaster claim filings in my post Considerations in making a major disaster tax claim.

Disaster designations when tax filing: Whichever year is used, put the disaster designation and official FEMA number on your return. This will alert the IRS to give it expedited treatment.

For California taxpayers, that's "California, severe winter storms, straight-line winds, in bold letters at the top of the form. Also include the FEMA disaster declaration number DR-4699-CA on any return claiming the related loss deduction.

Florida disaster area filers should put "Florida, severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding" in bold letters at the top of their forms. The FEMA disaster declaration number in this case is DR-4709-FL. This will alert the IRS to give it expedited treatment.

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