Federal and State Taxing Authorities Provide Tax Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Hurricane Irma

Posted on September 18, 2017

On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Category 3 Hurricane Irma slammed into the state of Florida causing severe flooding, property damage, and disablement of infrastructure. Allyn International, headquartered in Fort Myers, Florida was able to continue business fully operational due to our business continuity preparations, backup systems, dedicated personnel, and high-capacity generators, allowing us to continue servicing our clients without interruption the day following the storm. However, many of the individuals and businesses impacted by the storm continue to be inactive as they are impeded by Irma’s fallout, with thousands still lacking power and communication services.

The federal government along with certain state taxing authorities are responding to this disaster by providing tax relief for those affected. These reliefs vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but mainly pertain to income tax responsibilities to alleviate pressure on those located in the affected areas. Many of the reliefs also include IFTA and other fuel related taxes with the goal of facilitating shippers and qualified vehicles that are bringing supplies or restoration services to affected areas. If you are an “affected taxpayer”, you will need to be aware of which states are offering relief and for what accounts, to ensure you maintain compliance in your federal and state tax responsibilities.

Paraphrased for the purposes of this relief, the IRS definition of “affected taxpayer” is: Any individual whose principal residence or any business entity or sole proprietor whose principal place of business is located in a covered disaster area, or whose records necessary to meet a deadline are maintained in a covered disaster area; any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster; any individual who is a relief worker affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization and who is assisting in a covered disaster area; or any other person determined by the IRS to be affected by a federally declared disaster.

Currently, the taxing authorities that are offering relief are described below:

Federal – The IRS is offering relief of most federal tax returns (including income tax, employment returns, specified excise tax returns, and more) for the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and parts of Florida. Affected taxpayers in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will have most tax returns with an original or extended due date falling on September 5, 2017 – January 31, 2018, or estimated income tax payments original due on or after September 25, 2017, and before January 31, 2018, will have until January 31, 2018 for submittal. Penalties for failure to pay estimated income tax installments will also be forgiven as long as payment is submitted by January 31, 2018. Penalties derived from a failure to pay employment and excise tax deposits due on or after September 5, 2017, and before September 20, 2017, will also be waived as long as payment is made by September 20, 2017.

In regards to affected parts of Florida, the above federal relief programs apply, however the program dates for income tax returns, payments, and most tax returns run from September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018, instead of beginning September 5, 2017. The employment and income tax relief timeframe runs from September 4, 2017, to September 19, 2017, instead of beginning on September 5 and ending on September 20, 2017.  Also, from September 6, 2017, to September 22, 2017, the IRS will not impose a penalty for dyed fuel sold or used on Florida highways due to the shortage of undyed diesel fuel.

Alabama – The Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR) announced that is granting filing extensions for those taxpayers directly affected by Hurricane Irma in designated disaster areas. The Alabama DOR has established returns due on or after September 15, 2017, and before January 31, 2018, as incurring no penalties for being filed as late as January 31, 2018. Taxpayers that are not considered “affected taxpayers” but have encountered difficulties meeting their filing obligations due to Hurricane Irma weather-related circumstances may be eligible to request a waiver allowing for late filing and late payment penalties if they can provide supporting documentation. The DOR asks that taxpayers requesting the relief write “Irma Relief – 2017” on any return filed that requires an extension. Penalty relief for online filing will need to be discussed with the department directly.

Arkansas – The Arkansas Department of Revenue will be offering relief to Florida residents affected by Hurricane Irma for all state tax filing and payment obligations. This includes individual and corporate income taxes that are due on or after August 23, 2017. Affected taxpayers will have until January 31, 2018, to file their tax returns.

Colorado – The Colorado Department of Revenue is offering relief of all state collected taxes to “affected taxpayers”, mirroring the measures the IRS is currently taking in response to Hurricane Irma. The relief will cover returns and payments due for income tax, sales tax, withholding, severance tax, and excise tax with original or extended due dates falling between September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018. Additionally, affected Colorado sales tax licensees who file and pay by the extension deadline of January 31, 2018, will still be considered as filing timely and will be eligible for any vendor fee or discount that applies. The DOR will not automatically apply any relief, so taxpayers are asked to call the DOR after receipt of a bill to request relief.

Colorado has also agreed to honor any waiver of interest granted by Florida for IFTA motor carriers that are assisting with relief based in Florida if payments are received by the extension deadline. The DOR will also be temporarily suspending IFTA requirements for motor vehicles engaged in interstate disaster relief or traveling through Colorado for the purpose of disaster relief. The temporary suspension will last until September 30, 2017.

Connecticut – The Connecticut Department of Revenue posted on their website on September 11, 2017: “Requests for extension of time to file/pay CT taxes, as well as relief from any associated penalties, will be considered based on the individual circumstances of taxpayers located in the Hurricane Harvey or Irma federal disaster relief areas in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-2(a)(5).”

Delaware – The Delaware Division of Revenue is extending certain deadlines for individual and business tax returns for affected taxpayers as defined by the IRS in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The tax relief postpones various tax filing deadlines that occurred starting on August 23, 2017, through January 16, 2018, to January 31, 2018. This includes an additional filing extension for individual taxpayers with valid extensions to October 16, 2017, and businesses with valid extensions to September 15, 2017. Affected taxpayers will need to submit a written request to the Division on company letterhead and signed by a company official.

District of Columbia – Taxpayers who are victims of Hurricane Irma or taxpayers whose tax preparers, books, or records are located in disaster areas affected by Hurricane Irma will have the due dates of tax returns, payments, and other time-sensitive acts extended. Qualified returns, payments, etc. will have due dates that fall between September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018, and will be extended to January 31, 2018. The relief covers individual, partnership, corporate, and unincorporated income tax returns, alcohol gallonage reports, and individual, corporate, or unincorporated estimated tax payments. The relief does not cover sales and use tax returns or withholding.  Affected taxpayers should write “Hurricane Irma Relief” in bold on the top of the first page of their returns. Taxpayers who file electronically will need to call the Office of Tax and Revenue customer service administration.

Florida – Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for every Florida County on September 4, 2017, in response to the threat of Hurricane Irma. The executive order establishing the state of emergency also waived timing compliance requirements of various tax statutes and rules. It also established additional requirements applying to local authorities holding millage and budgeting hearings. In addition to the above, Florida has waived certain fuel requirements in order to expedite fuel deliveries. A full list of the statutes affected can be found in the Executive Order 17-235, a copy of which is currently posted on the FL Department of Revenue website. The relief will end 30 days from the date of the execution of the executive order (October 4, 2017), unless further extended by the Department of Revenue.

In addition to the relief triggered by the Executive Order 17-235, the DOR has announced that it will be offering extensions for corporate income tax, sales and use tax, and fuel taxes. Affected taxpayers with corporate income tax returns and installment payments with original or extended due dates between September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018, will be considered timely if filed by February 15, 2018. Sales and use tax and fuel tax returns originally due on September 20, 2017, will now be due on September 29, 2017(5:00 PM September 28, 2017, for electronic filers).

The state will also be mirroring the federal waiver of penalties on the sale or use of dyed diesel fuel by offering the same waiver for state fuel tax purposes. The FL DOR has instructed that sales or use of dyed diesel fuel should be treated the same as sales and use of undyed diesel fuel from the period of September 6, 2017, to September 22, 2017.

Georgia – The Georgia Department of Revenue, in conjunction with the IRS relief, announced it will be providing relief to affected taxpayers in the form of extensions for certain tax returns, payments, and other time-sensitive tax matters. Affected taxpayers will have until January 31, 2018, to take the actions specified by the IRS. The relief will also be extended to taxpayers who have their records in the disaster area even if they are not located in the disaster area. The relief applies to the following: income tax returns with a valid extension due October 16, 2017; quarterly estimated income tax payments due September 20, 2017, October 20, 2017, November 20, 2017, December 20, 2017, and January 22, 2018; and quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on October 31, 2017. In addition to the IRS extensions, Georgia is also providing the relief for monthly and quarterly sales and use tax returns due in September 2017 through January 2018, and annual returns due in January of 2018. Affected taxpayers are asked to write “2017 Hurricane Irma” on the top of any forms submitted to the Department where relief is requested. Taxpayers filing electronically should contact the DOR headquarters in Atlanta in the event they are assessed a penalty.

The DOR has also suspended all requirements associated with the IRP and the IFTA for vehicles actively involved in interstate disaster recovery efforts or traveling through the state of Georgia in response to Hurricane Irma. This relief will run until whatever occurs sooner: 5:00 PM on October 8, 2017, or until hurricane recovery efforts are complete.

Idaho – The Idaho State Tax Commission is offering relief for all Idaho tax types. The extension applies to both individuals and businesses in disaster areas as well as those whose tax records are located there. Idaho is also offering the expanded relief to taxpayers in any area designated by FEMA as qualifying for individual assistance. Parts of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are currently eligible. Taxpayers in localities that are added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. Taxpayers have until January 31, 2018, to mail in completed tax returns and payments due on September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018. To qualify for the extension affected taxpayers are asked to write “Hurricane Irma” in red ink on the top of their returns, or call the Tax Commission if they file electronically.

Illinois – The Illinois Department of Revenue will waive interest and penalties for all taxpayers whose timely action is affected by Hurricane Irma. Taxpayers should include a written explanation with their relevant account information with an explanation on why they cannot file or pay on time with a clear request for an abatement of penalties and interest. The request must be sent electronically to diasterrelief@illinois.gov or mailed to the Department using the address on the relevant return. Mailed requests should include “Hurricane Irma” written in red on the top of the return.

The state is also temporarily waiving IFTA and motor fuel use tax single trip permitting starting August 25, 2017. The waiver applies only to those vehicles assisting in recovery by responding to power, utilities, communication, and infrastructure restoration disaster areas. There is also a waiver for vehicles delivering goods, services, or food necessary for sustaining life and livestock from September 5, 2017, through October 4, 2017.

Indiana – Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb suspended IRP and IFTA requirements for vehicles that are traveling through Indiana and providing disaster relief to Florida. The suspension will be in effect from September 8, 2017, to October 6, 2017.

The Indiana Department of Revenue has also announced that in conjunction with the offering of tax relief by the IRS, the state will be offering 60-day extensions of filing due dates for taxpayers whose filing address is located in the state of Florida. All penalties and interest during this period will also be waived. The extension was announced on 9/18/2017.

Kentucky – The Kentucky Department of Revenue will give tax extensions to affected taxpayers who cannot file the following tax accounts due to interference from Hurricane Irma: personal income tax, corporate income tax, and income tax withholding. This extension gives taxpayers until January 31, 2018, to file returns or make payments that were originally due on September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018. This includes estimated tax payments due on September 15, 2017, and October 15, 2017. Taxpayers are advised to write “Hurricane Irma” in large red letters on the top margin of filed documents in order to receive relief. The DOR will waive late filing and payment penalties, however, Kentucky state statutes do not provide the option for a waiver of interest.

While sales tax and other taxes not listed above do not qualify for the relief, taxpayers experiencing delays due to disasters have the option to contact the DOR directly to request filing extensions or penalty waivers.

Maryland – The Comptroller of Maryland has waived specified IFTA requirements for companies affected by Hurricane Irma. The waiver will be effective from September 11, 2017, to November 30, 2017, and applies only to carriers of emergency relief supplies and aid personnel. Maryland has also issued waivers of interest and penalties to Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) license holders in Florida who have difficulty filing their August and September returns. The returns must be filed by November 30, 2017.

In addition to the above, the Maryland Comptroller will evaluate waiving penalties and interest on a case by case basis for sales and use, withholding, individual nonresident, corporate, admission, alcohol and tobacco, and amusement taxes.

Minnesota – The Minnesota Department of Revenue has a policy in place indicating that they will work with individuals and businesses that cannot file or pay state taxes on time due to natural disasters. In accordance with this policy, taxpayers affected by Hurricane Irma are encouraged to request penalty and interest forgiveness due to delays in filing or paying state taxes caused by the hurricane by calling the DOR at 651-556-3000 or 1-800-657-3666.

Nebraska – The Nebraska Department of Revenue will consider waiving any penalties and interest for affected taxpayers where it considers it is warranted and the law allows for it. The Department stated that it will work with taxpayers with any tax returns or payments due where timely filing is impeded by Hurricane Irma. Taxpayers should contact the DOR via phone to request the relief.

New Hampshire – The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) is offering relief to all taxpayers who are considered Hurricane Irma victims by the IRS. The relief includes waivers of all penalties and interest incurred by a lack of timely filing or payment related to any tax administered by the DRA that has a due date from September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018, as long as the taxpayers meet their obligations by January 31, 2018. However, taxpayers who are prevented from filing a return with an extended due date that falls during the relief period will only be granted a waiver of the RSA 21-J:31 penalty for failure to file a return when due. In order to receive relief, taxpayers will need to complete and file “Form A-105, Disaster Relief Request” and attach it to the copy of the “Notice of Assessment” to which it relates.

New Jersey – The New Jersey Division of Taxation is offering extensions for filing and payment deadlines to affected taxpayers and taxpayers whose records are kept in disaster areas. New Jersey follows IRS guidelines in that the relief period for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will cover September 5, 2017, to January 31, 2018, and the relief period for Florida disaster areas will cover September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018. The relief period will cover 2016 income tax returns for individuals with extended deadlines of October 16, 2017; quarterly estimated payments due September 15, 2017, and January 16, 2018; employer withholding tax returns due October 30, 2017; and petroleum products gross receipts tax returns due October 25, 2017. The deadline extension also applies to sales tax, corporation business tax, gross income tax, and certain other taxes that have certain filing and payment deadlines.

New Mexico – The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD) has extended filing due dates for taxpayers affected by Hurricane Irma for responsibilities due on or after September 4, 2017, and before January 31, 2018 (on or after September 5 for US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico). The extension is until January 31, 2018. The extension applies to personal, corporate, withholding, compensating, gross receipts, oil and gas, and combined fuel taxes for New Mexico taxpayers who reside or have businesses in disaster areas. Taxpayers are asked to write “Hurricane Irma” on the top of their paper returns or send a letter to the TRD if filing electronically.

Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will extend certain tax return filing deadlines for corporate taxpayers filing the form RCT-101 directly impacted by the severe storms and flooding from Hurricane Irma. The tax relief postpones various tax filing deadlines that occurred starting on August 23, 2017, through January 31, 2018, to January 31, 2018. This does not apply to Specialty Tax return filings or payments applicable to all returns. The dates of the extensions vary, and a full list can be found at the Pennsylvania DOR website. To avoid a late file penalty assessment, taxpayers are asked to email a request on company letterhead and signed by a corporation official including the name and address of the business where the tax records are located to RA-panoticeofadjustment@pa.gov. The DOR also asks taxpayers to include “Hurricane Harvey/Irma Impacted Return” on the top front of the return.  

Rhode Island – The Rhode Island Division of Taxation is offering relief to victims of Hurricane Irma in the form of extensions only on a case by case basis. The Division has indicated it will follow IRS guidance when determining who qualifies for the relief. Taxpayers are asked to send a letter addressed in this format to request relief:

Rhode Island Division of Taxation

”Hurricane: [Personal Income or Corporate] Tax Relief” (Only put the relevant tax type)

One Capitol Hill

Providence, R. I. 02908

Taxpayers should be aware that the relief will only offer extensions for filing returns, not for payments. The Division has indicated it will consider waiving penalties for payments unable to be made on time, but it cannot waive interest.

South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Revenue is offering temporary tax relief to victims of Hurricane Irma in the following South Carolina counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, and Jasper. The DOR has indicated that it will evaluate the need to offer relief to victims in other counties on a case by case basis.  Taxpayers that have returns and payments due on September 11, 2017, to October 13, 2017, will have until October 13, 2017, to meet their obligations. This includes quarterly estimated payments due September 15, 2017, sales tax returns due September 20, 2017, and taxpayers with a valid extension that runs out on September 15, 2017.

Be advised that this relief does not apply to due dates from current collection matters that are under any payment plan previously entered into with the DOR.

Virginia – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, in response to the State of Emergency declared by the Governor of Virginia, authorized a temporary waiver of registration and licensing requirements for carriers associated with emergency relief efforts. The Department also issued a temporary waiver of normal weight and height restrictions. The waiver is effective from 5:00 PM September 8, 2017, to 5:00 PM October 8, 2017.

West Virginia – The West Virginia Department of Revenue has announced that it will be providing state tax relief for “affected taxpayers” in accordance with the relief the IRS has granted. Victims of Hurricane Irma who have due dates associated with corporation net income tax returns, corporation estimated tax payments, income tax returns for taxpayers other than corporations, and estimated payments for taxpayers other than corporations that fall between September 4, 2017, to January 31, 2018, are extended to January 31, 2018. Taxpayers are asked to provide an explanation on how they qualify for the relief and to write “Hurricane Irma” on the top of their returns.

The DOR will also provide relief for other taxes such as sales and use, withholding and excise tax returns, reports, and payments that have due dates falling within the same period. However, the extension is limited to 30 days and the taxpayer must file the applicable forms, found on http://tax.wv.gov/Flood/Pages/FloodReliefInformation.aspx.

Wisconsin – The Wisconsin Department of Revenue, in response to the IRS relief announcement, will be offering state tax relief for Hurricane Irma victims. “Affected taxpayers” who have due dates for Wisconsin income tax returns and payments or corporation franchise/income tax returns and payments falling within the timeframes established by the IRS will have until January 31, 2018, to meet their obligations. When filing the Wisconsin income tax return with the extension to January 31, 2018, taxpayers should enter the number "03" in the Special Conditions box on the front of the return and write "Hurricane Irma" on the line provided. Wisconsin will also provide 30-day extensions to file and pay sales and use tax, withholding tax, and excise tax returns, reports, and payments for taxpayers who contact the Wisconsin DOR Registration Unit.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Ross has waived the fee required to obtain 72-hour trip permits for vehicles traveling into Wisconsin that are not registered in Wisconsin nor enrolled in the International Registration Plan (IRP) or the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and are providing direct emergency relief and assistance relating to Hurricane Irma.

Other – At this point, no other state taxing authorities have come forward offering tax relief. However, the following states have come forward in response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, although it is unclear if they will extend disaster relief to cover Irma as well: California, Hawaii, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

For information on a specific jurisdiction, please feel free to contact tax@allynintl.com

Tips for the Taxpayer

If you or your business have been affected by natural disaster, stay up-to-date with the news updates issued by taxing authorities in jurisdictions where you do business. Extensions and waivers can often be numerous and extensive in what they cover.

How Can We Help?

Allyn International offers tax services for companies throughout the US and Canada and has business continuity plans in place in order to circumvent impediments from natural disasters. Allyn’s team of seasoned tax professionals completed every tax return and payment due within the scope of potential delays due to Hurricane Irma prior to the storm’s impact. Despite our US headquarters being in the direct path of the storm, Allyn was open and fully operational within hours of the storm’s passing. We can help your business maintain compliance with federal and state tax responsibilities and put procedures in place to ensure future disasters do not affect your tax operations.

Allyn’s tax team is experienced in all aspects of Federal, state, and local tax compliance and consulting for large U.S. and global corporations. We use that experience to your advantage.

Allyn files state and local sales and use, property, and license tax returns in every US taxing jurisdiction in addition to excise tax filings such as Federal Excise Tax, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax, and International Fuel Tax Agreement returns. We can manage your tax compliance, create a solid tax process, and provide audit defense for your company.

Contact us and we can provide a customized cost-effective solution to meet your company’s needs. For further information on Allyn Tax services, please contact tax@allynintl.com.

For More Information

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or other tax topics, please visit our Tax Publications under News and Publications at www.allynintl.com.

About Allyn International

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance.  Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China and Prague, Czech Republic. For more information, visit www.allynintl.com.