IRS gives South Carolina flood victims tax relief

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The IRS announced that South Carolina flood victims who live or have businesses in the South Carolina counties that have been declared eligible for disaster assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after President Barack Obama declared them disaster areas will be given an automatic extension for any tax filing and payment deadlines falling on or after Oct. 1, 2015, and before Feb. 16, 2016 (IR-2015-112). This includes any taxpayer whose individual income tax return was originally due Oct. 15, 2015, because the taxpayer received an extension. 

The counties are Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg. Other locations may be added as FEMA assesses the damage. In addition to individuals and businesses in the affected areas, all workers assisting relief activities in these areas who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization are also eligible. Taxpayers who live outside these areas but whose records are located in these areas must call the IRS for relief.

Individuals and businesses that qualify have until Feb. 16, 2016, to file their returns and pay any taxes due. Besides the Oct. 15 extension deadline, the relief also applies to the Jan. 15, 2016, deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments. Other deadlines that have been extended include several business tax deadlines, including the Nov. 2, 2015, and Feb. 1, 2016, deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns.

The IRS announced that it will abate any interest, late-payment, or late-filing penalty automatically for any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area, and it will not require taxpayers to contact it to get this relief. If a taxpayer mistakenly receives a penalty notice, he or she should call the number on the notice.

The IRS is also waiving late-deposit penalties for payroll and excise deposits normally due on or after Oct. 1, 2015, and before Oct. 16, 2015, if the deposits are made by Oct. 16.

Taxpayers who have uninsured or unreimbursed losses have the option of claiming these losses either on last year’s original or amended return (for the 2014 tax year) or this year’s 2015 return.

Sally P. Schreiber (sschreiber@aicpa.org) is a JofA senior editor.

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