Hurricane Fiona: Tax Relief Available for Puerto Rico Victims

FEMA's recent disaster declaration opens the door for extended federal tax filing and payment deadlines for victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.

picture of flooding in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Fiona
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Residents and business in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Fiona, which began impacting the island on September 17, now have until February 15, 2023, to file and pay certain federal taxes. The IRS extended the deadlines after the island was declared a disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The tax relief applies to residents and businesses in all 78 municipalities who were affected by the hurricane.

Various federal tax filing and payment due dates for individuals and businesses from September 17 to February 14 will be shifted to February 15, 2023. This includes extended 2021 personal income tax returns that would normally be due on October 17, 2022. They are now due on February 15, 2023. Payments for 2021 income taxes that were due on April 18, 2022, are not extended.

The tax relief also applies to the quarterly estimated tax payments due on January 17, 2023, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on October 31, 2022, and January 31, 2023. Penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due from September 17 to October 2 will also be waived if the deposits are made by October 3, 2022.

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Victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico 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, 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 in Puerto Rico who are affected by the hurricane. When requesting copies of a tax return or a tax return transcript, write "Puerto Rico Hurricane Fiona" 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 Puerto Rico, but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located on the island. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live elsewhere 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, and anyone visiting the island who was killed or injured as a result of the hurricane.

Individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim a deduction for them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2022 return to be filed next year), or the return for the prior year. This means that taxpayers can, if they choose, file an amended return to claim these losses on their 2021 return. Be sure to write the FEMA declaration number (EM-3583-PR) on any return claiming a loss. It's also a good idea for affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on an amended 2021 return to put the Disaster Designation ("Puerto Rico Hurricane Fiona") in bold letters at the top of the form. See IRS Publication 547 for details.

Rocky Mengle

Rocky Mengle was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023 with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, Rocky 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 holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.