Mississippi Water Crisis Victims Get Tax Relief from IRS

Upcoming tax filing and payment deadlines are extended for residents and businesses impacted by the Mississippi water crisis.

picture of man putting bottled water in another person's car
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The IRS announced that victims of the water crisis in Mississippi (including Jackson, Miss.) that started on August 30, 2022, will have more time to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Specifically, impacted taxpayers will have until February 15, 2023, to file and pay tax returns and payments due between August 30 and February 14.

The tax relief is available to anyone in any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for individual assistance. At this point, only affected taxpayers who live or have a business in Hinds County (which includes Jackson, Miss.) qualify for the extensions, but the IRS will offer the same relief to any taxpayers in other areas designated by FEMA later.

The IRS will also waive fees for obtaining copies of previously filed tax returns for taxpayers affected by the water crisis. When requesting copies of a tax return or a tax return transcript, write "Mississippi Water Crisis" in bold letters at the top of Form 4506 (opens in new tab) (copy of return) or Form 4506-T (opens in new tab) (transcript) and send it to the IRS.

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The IRS will also work with other people who live outside the disaster area but whose tax records are in the disaster area. Call the IRS at 866-562-5227 if you face this situation. This also includes relief workers affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization, and anyone visiting the area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster.

Deadlines Extended

The deadlines that are pushed back for Mississippi water crisis victims include extended 2021 personal income tax returns that would normally be due on October 17, 2022. They are now due on February 15, 2023. However, payments for 2021 income taxes that were due on April 18, 2022, are not extended.

Businesses with an original or extended income tax due dates within the affected time period also have more time to file and pay taxes. This includes partnerships and S corporations with 2021 tax year extensions expiring on September 15, and corporations with an extension expiring on October 17.

Quarterly estimated tax payments that are due September 15, 2022, and January 15, 2023, are also extended until February 15. The due date for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on October 31, 2022, and January 31, 2023, are extended to February 15, too. Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due from August 30 to September 13 are also waived as long as the deposits are made by September 14, 2022.

Taxpayers don't need to contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected person receives a late filing or payment penalty notice from the IRS, he or she should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

Deduction for Damaged or Lost Property

Victims of the Mississippi water crisis may be able to claim a tax deduction for unreimbursed damaged or lost property. To do so, they typically must itemize and file Schedule A (opens in new tab) with their tax return. However, victims who claim the standard deduction may still be able to deduct their losses if they can claim them as business losses on Schedule C (opens in new tab).

The deduction can be claimed on the tax return for the year the damage or loss of property occurred or for the previous year. So, for any personal property damage or losses in 2022, the deduction can be claimed on either a 2021 tax year return or a 2022 return. In either case, you must write the FEMA declaration number on the return claiming the deduction. For the Mississippi water crisis, the number is EM-3582-MS.

If you decide to claim a deduction for 2021, you can amend your 2021 return by filing Form 1040-X (opens in new tab). For this purpose, you must file the amended return no later than six months after the due date for filing your return (without extensions) for the year in which the loss took place. So, for the Mississippi water crisis, you would need to file an amended 2021 return by October 16, 2023. Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on a 2021 return should also put the Disaster Designation ("Mississippi Water Crisis") in bold letters at the top of the form. See IRS Publication 547 (opens in new tab) for details.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023. He has more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.