Tuesday, October 27, 2020

IRS offers tax relief for the victims of California wildfires

Last week, the IRS continued to expand an important list which has been growing since late August: the tally of counties in California where taxpayers can, in light of the catastrophic wildfires that continue to ravage the state, claim a (temporary) reprieve from filing their taxes. On October 19th the IRS announced that “affected” taxpayers in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, Mendocino, Napa, San Bernadino, San Diego, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Sonoma have a delayed deadline of January 15th to file their taxes. This deadline applies to individual taxpayers as well as many businesses (including tax-exempt organizations), all of whom have likely been affected in some way by the natural disasters plaguing the area. Whether these measures, among other forms of disaster relief, will be enough to offset the damages caused by these events is another matter entirely: while the IRS adds in its statement that affected taxpayers, businesses, and nonprofit organizations “should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case,” a few month’s delay in filing taxes may be a small comfort to many taxpayers whose homes and livelihoods have been severely impacted or else completely destroyed. Taxpayers in counties affected by Californian wildfires should note that this particular deadline extension is one of many: the IRS has declared different extensions to reflect the multitude of different fires raging throughout the state.

For the Forbes story on this development, see https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2020/10/25/irs-tax-extension-to-jan-15-for-california-wildfire-victims/?ss=taxes#5125e70425bc

For the IRS official statement, see https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-announces-tax-relief-for-september-california-wildfire-victims

By Professor David Brennen, University of Kentucky College of Law


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