IRS announces tax relief for victims of earthquakes in Puerto Rico

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.
  • Updated 12/20/21 to change the previous disaster relief date of April 30, 2020 to September 15, 2020
  • Updated 3/30/21 to include Rincón.
  • Updated 3/11/20 to include Aguada, Añasco, Barceloneta, Coamo, Moca, Naranjito, Salinas, and Santa Isabel.
  • Updated 2/6/20 to include: Arecibo, Ciales, Hormigueros, Juana Díaz, Las Marías, Mayagüez, Morovis, Orocovis, and Sabana Grande.
  • Updated 1/28/20 to reflect the correct filing deadline affected for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns - the date should have been January 31, 2020.
  • Updated 1/22/20 to include: Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Corozal, Jayuya, Lajas, Lares, Maricao, San Germán, San Sebastián and Villalba.

PR-2020-01, January 17, 2020

Puerto Rico — Victims of earthquakes that took place beginning on December 28, 2019 in parts of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

The President has declared that a major disaster exists in Puerto Rico. Following the recent disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the IRS announced today that affected taxpayers in certain areas will receive tax relief.

Individuals and households who reside or have a business in the municipalities of Adjuntas, Aguada, Añasco, Arecibo, Barceloneta, Cabo Rojo, Ciales, Coamo, Corozal, Guánica, Guayanilla, Hormigueros, Jayuya, Juana Díaz, Lajas, Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, Mayagüez, Moca, Morovis, Naranjito, Orocovis, Peñuelas, Ponce, Rincón, Sabana Grande, Salinas, San Germán, San Sebastián, Santa Isabel, Utuado, Villalba and Yauco may qualify for tax relief.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after December 28, 2019 and before September 15,  2020, are granted additional time to file through September 15, 2020.

The September 15, 2020 relief also applies to the individual income tax return due on April 15, 2020 and the  quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 15, 2020 and April 15, 2020, and to the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on January 31, 2020.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after December 28, 2019, and before January 13, 2020, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by January 13, 2020.

If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date that falls within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate the penalty.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Covered Disaster Area

The localities listed above constitute a covered disaster area for purposes of Treas. Reg. §301.7508A-1(d)(2) and are entitled to the relief detailed below.

Affected Taxpayers

Taxpayers considered to be affected taxpayers eligible for the postponement of time to file returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts are those taxpayers listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(d)(1), and include individuals who live, and businesses (including tax-exempt organizations) whose principal place of business is located, in the covered disaster area. Taxpayers not in the covered disaster area, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c) are in the covered disaster area, are also entitled to relief. In addition, all relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization assisting in the relief activities in the covered disaster area and any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster are entitled to relief.

Grant of Relief

Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until September 15, 2020, to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; annual information returns of tax-exempt organizations; and employment and certain excise tax returns), that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after December 28, 2019 and before September 15, 2020.

Affected taxpayers that have an estimated income tax payment originally due on or after December 28, 2019 and before September 15, 2020, will not be subject to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax installments as long as such payments are paid on or before April 30, 2020. The IRS also gives affected taxpayers until September 15, 2020 to perform other time-sensitive actions described in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2018-58, 2018-50 IRB 990 (December 10, 2018), that are due to be performed on or after December 28, 2019 and before September 15, 2020.

This relief also includes the filing of Form 5500 series returns, (that were required to be filed on or after December 28, 2019 and before September 15, 2020 in the manner described in section 8 of Rev. Proc. 2018-58. The relief described in section 17 of Rev. Proc. 2018-58, pertaining to like-kind exchanges of property, also applies to certain taxpayers who are not otherwise affected taxpayers and may include acts required to be performed before or after the period above.

Unless an act is specifically listed in Rev. Proc. 2018-58, the postponement of time to file and pay does not apply to information returns in the W-2, 1094, 1095, 1097, 1098, or 1099 series; to Forms 1042-S, 3921, 3922 or 8027; or to employment and excise tax deposits. However, penalties on deposits due on or after December 28, 2019, and before January 13, 2020, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by January 13, 2020.

Casualty Losses

Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See Publication 547 for details.

Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts and its Instructions PDF.

Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on a 2018 or 2019 return should put the Disaster Designation, "Puerto Rico, Earthquakes" at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund. Be sure to include the disaster declaration number, FEMA 4473, on any return. See Publication 547 for details.

Other Relief

The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers. Taxpayers should put the assigned Disaster Designation "Puerto Rico, Earthquakes" in red ink at the top of Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return, as appropriate, and submit it to the IRS.

Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case. Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website,, or order them by calling 800-829-3676. The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.