Tax Breaks

IRS Extends Tax Deadlines for Louisiana Storm Victims

Following FEMA's recent disaster declaration for severe storms and flooding Louisiana, impacted taxpayers get more time to file and pay certain federal taxes.

Residents of certain Louisiana parishes can wait until August 16, 2021, to file their 2020 federal income tax return. The IRS extended this and other tax deadlines because of the severe storms and flooding that began on May 17, 2021, in parts of the state that were declared a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The tax relief applies to residents of Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette Parishes.

Various federal tax filing and payment due dates for individuals and businesses from May 17 to August 15 will be shifted to August 16. In addition to the May 17 personal income tax filing deadline, which was previously pushed back to June 15 for taxpayers impacted by a winter storm in February, this includes:

  • 2020 IRA contributions originally due on May 17;
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments normally due on June 15; and
  • 2020 returns for tax-exempt organizations typically due on May 17.

Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due from May 17 to May 31 will also be waived if the deposits were made by June 1.

You don't have to contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if you receive a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, you should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

The IRS will also waive fees for obtaining copies of previously filed tax returns for taxpayers affected by the storm. When requesting copies of a tax return or a tax return transcript, write "Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding" in bold letters at the top of Form 4506 (copy of return) or Form 4506-T (transcript) and send it to the IRS.

In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside Louisiana, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the state. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live in another state need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2021 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year. This means that taxpayers can, if they choose, claim these losses on their 2020 return. Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number (FEMA 4606-DR) on any return claiming a loss. It's also a good idea for affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on a 2020 return to put the Disaster Designation ("Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding") in bold letters at the top of the form. See IRS Publication 547 for details.

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