Tax Help for California Wildfire Victims

 

Victims of wildfires that began July 14, 2021 now have until November 15, 2021 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments following the recent disaster declaration issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Individuals and households affected by wildfires that reside or have a business in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas counties qualify for tax relief. The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain tax-filing and tax-payment deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after July 14, 2021, and before November 15, 2021, are postponed through November 15, 2021.

This means that individuals who had a valid extension to file their 2020 returns, due to run out on October 15, will now have until November 15, 2021 to file.

The November 15, 2021, deadline applies to the quarterly estimated tax payment, normally due on September 15. It also applies to the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on August 2, 2021. Also, penalties on deposits due on or after July 14, 2021, and before July 29, 2021, will be abated as long as the tax deposits were made by July 29, 2021.

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. For information on services currently available, visit the IRS operations and services page at IRS.gov/coronavirus.

More information:

Other California Wildfires

The IRS extended deadlines for victims of wildfires and high winds that took place beginning on July 23, 2018 and November 8, 2018 in California. Certain deadlines falling on or after July 23, 2018 and before November 30, 2018, were granted additional time to file through November 30, 2018. This includes taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2017 return by October 15, 2018. It also includes the quarterly estimated income tax payments due on September 17, 2018, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on July 31, 2018 and October 31, 2018. It also includes tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due by November 15, 2018.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after July 23, 2018, and before August 7, 2018, will be abated as long as the deposits were made by August 7, 2018.

Certain deadlines falling on or after November 8, 2018 and before April 30, 2019, are granted additional time to file through April 30, 2019. This includes 2018 individual income tax returns and payments normally due on April 15, 2019. It also includes the quarterly estimated income tax payments due on January 15, 2019 and April 15, 2019 and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on January 31, 2019. It also includes tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due by November 15, 2018.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after November 8, 2018, and before November 23, 2018, will be abated as long as the deposits were made by November 23, 2018.

The IRS extended deadlines for certain taxpayers that apply to filing returns, paying taxes, and performing certain other time-sensitive acts. The deadline was extended to April 30, 2018, for taxpayers affected by the California wildfires, flooding, mudflows and debris flows. This extension applies to deadlines - either an original or extended due date - that occur after December 3, 2017, and before April 30, 2018, for taxpayers affected by the California wildfires, flooding, mudflows and debris flows.

Personal casualty losses resulting from the California wildfires may be claimed as a qualified disaster loss.

California Wildfire Covered Disaster Area

A portion of the California wildfire disaster area was designated by the IRS as a covered disaster area on October 13, 2017 and supplemented on October 16. This California wildfire covered disaster area covers Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Solano, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

California Wildfires, Flooding, Mudflows and Debris Flows Covered Disaster Area

Another portion of the California wildfire disaster area was designated by the IRS as a covered disaster area on January 17, 2018. The California wildfires, flooding, mudflows and debris flows covered disaster area covers Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

California Wildfire Disaster Zone

The term California wildfire disaster zone means that portion of the California wildfire disaster area determined by the President to warrant individual or individual and public assistance from the federal government by reason of the California wildfires.

The following counties are in the California wildfire disaster zone:

  • Butte, Lake, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Ventura and Yuba.

See Publication 976, Disaster Relief, which explains special tax law provisions for taxpayers affected by the California wildfires.

Taxpayers can also identify themselves to the IRS or ask wildfire-related questions by calling the special IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227.

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