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In the wake of the devastating wildfires that ravaged parts of Washington State starting on August 18, 2023, individuals and businesses in affected areas are receiving much-needed relief from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). With Spokane County currently designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a disaster area, residents and businesses are granted an extension until June 17 to file various federal tax returns and make necessary payments.

This relief initiative encompasses a broad range of tax obligations, including individual income tax returns, business tax filings, and contributions to retirement accounts such as IRAs and health savings accounts. Moreover, penalties for late payroll and excise tax deposits incurred during the specified period are abated if deposits were made by September 5, 2023.

The IRS’s measures offer crucial breathing room for small businesses and the self-employed. Quarterly estimated income tax payments, ordinarily due in September 2023 and January 2024, are now postponed until June 17, 2024. Likewise, partnerships, S corporations, and other entities facing impending filing deadlines are granted an extension, providing essential flexibility in navigating their financial obligations amidst the disaster’s aftermath.

Individuals and businesses that had previously secured an extension for their 2022 tax returns are also included in the relief efforts, with a new deadline of June 17, 2024. However, it’s essential to note that tax payments for the 2022 tax year are not eligible for this extension, as they were initially due before the disaster struck.

The IRS emphasizes the importance of electronic filing for those seeking additional extensions beyond June 17, urging taxpayers to submit their requests by April 15, 2024. While taxpayers in disaster areas can request extensions between April 15 and June 17, any requests made during this period must be submitted via paper. However, regardless of the method used to request an extension, taxpayers will have until October 15, 2024, to file their returns, with payments still due by June 17.

Moreover, the relief measures extend to individuals and businesses outside the designated disaster area who possess essential records required to meet deadlines affected by the disaster. The IRS stands ready to assist taxpayers in navigating these complexities, including those engaged in relief efforts through recognized government or philanthropic organizations.

For self-employed individuals and small businesses grappling with uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses, the IRS offers avenues for claiming these losses on their tax returns. Taxpayers have up to six months after the due date of their federal income tax return for the disaster year to make this election, providing additional support as they work to rebuild in the wake of the wildfires.

In solidarity and support, taxpayers claiming disaster-related losses are encouraged to include the FEMA declaration number, 4759-DR, on their returns, streamlining the process and ensuring swift resolution of their claims.

Source ( Accounting Today News).