Hurricane Harvey & Irma Tax Relief

IRS Offering Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricanes Harvey & Irma

In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, and the recent disaster declaration by President Trump, the IRS is offering tax relief to Texas victims affected by the storm:

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 Aug. 23, 2017 and before Jan. 31, 2018, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2018. This includes taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2016 return that was due to run out on Oct. 16, 2017. It also includes the quarterly estimated income tax payments originally due on Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2017. In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Aug. 23, 2017, and before Sept. 7, 2017, will be abated as long as the deposits were made by Sept. 7, 2017.

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.

As of 9/5/17, the following Texas counties have been approved for extended IRS deadlines:

  • Aransas
  • Bee
  • Brazoria
  • Calhoun
  • Chambers
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Goliad
  • Harris
  • Jackson
  • Kleberg
  • Liberty
  • Matagorda
  • Nueces
  • Refugio
  • San Patricio
  • Victoria
  • Wharton
  • Colorado
  • Fayette
  • Hardin
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Montgomery
  • Newton
  • Orange
  • Sabine
  • San Jacinto
  • Waller
  • Austin
  • Batrop
  • DeWitt
  • Gonzales
  • Karnes
  • Lavaca
  • Lee
  • Polk
  • Tyler
  • Walker

Taxpayers can download forms and publications from the official IRS website, irs.gov, or order them by calling toll free 800-829-3676.  Contact an R&G Brenner tax professional if you require assistance; (888) APRIL-15.

UPDATE 9-15-17

Likewise, the IRS is offering tax relief for those affected by Hurricane Irma.

The IRS is offering this relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance. Parts of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are currently eligible, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area, including those in other states, will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief. The current list of eligible localities is always available on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

5 Reasons To Call Your Tax Pro Today!

Start Your Tax Planning Now

Kelly Phillips Erb–better known as the Taxgirl (@taxgirl) lists 5 reasons why you should contact a tax professional today:

  1. Corporate extensions are over but individual returns on extension are due in a little over three weeks. Individuals who timely requested a extension – about 10 million taxpayers – have until October 15, 2012 to file their 2011 federal income tax returns. Don’t wait until the last minute: the whole point of getting that extension was so that your return wouldn’t be sloppy, right?
  2. Estimated tax payments were due earlier this week. September 17, 2012, to be exact. The whole point of making estimated payments is not to owe too much at tax time (and end up paying a nasty penalty), especially for those folks who rely on income not subject to withholding (generally, independent contractors and those that are partners in an LLC, LLP or LP or members of S corporations). Now that most of the year has flown by, it’s a good chance to run those numbers to make sure that you’re withholding enough – or too much. You don’t want to err on the side of paying in too much, either. If 2011 wasn’t as banner a year as 2010, you might be paying the IRS too much. A tax pro can help you sort this out in advance so that April 2013 isn’t quite so painful.
  3. The Tax Code is constantly changing. Credits expire, deductions shrink and rates can fluctuate from year to year. For planning purposes, it’s best to know what to expect ahead of time. If you’re trying to plan, knowing when tax breaks for hiring certain employees or making energy efficient improvements to your house expire is useful. A good tax professional can point you in the right direction (with the caveat that Congress is still wont to undo it all at any second).
  4. End of the year planning opportunities are just around the corner.Many taxpayers start thinking about their options in January but many tax savings plans have to be completed in December in order to count for that tax year. If you want to save tax dollars for tax year 2012, in most instances (retirement plan contributions being an exception), you have to act before December 31, 2012 – including the really big ones like getting married. And this doesn’t just apply to individual income taxes: planning for estate and gift taxes, as well as most corporate and partnership taxes, is focused on the same year end: December 31. If you have moves to make by year end, get things going now – and get some help.
  5. Finally, business slows down a little (just a little) at the end of the year for many tax professionals. This might be the best time to get some personal attention if there’s something you’ve been concerned about. Maybe your bookkeeping isn’t terrific and you want to change software packages… or maybe the pencil on your old green ledgers is too hard to read these days and you’re thinking about diving in and trying online accounting. Maybe you’re thinking about contributing to an IRA for your spouse or a 529 savings plan for the kiddos. Maybe you just want to find a new preparer. The very best time to do those things is January 1. But that’s the worst time to start thinking about it – just after the holidays can be hectic. Ask now. Get the facts. Organize. Fill out the papers. Resolve to start fresh.

Contact an R&G Brenner Tax Professional today to discuss your tax strategy for the upcoming tax season.

Source:  Forbes

5 Tips For Amending Your Tax Return

Amending Tips

The April 17th deadline has come and gone, however if you made a mistake or omission, you’ll need to file an amended return.  The following are 5 tips to consider when filing your 1040x.

1. Amend each year separately. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a separate Form 1040X for each. Mail each amended return in a separate envelope to the IRS “campus”—they used to be called “IRS Service Centers”—for the area where you live. The Form 1040X instructions list the addresses for these IRS campuses.

2. Amended returns are more likely to be audited. Few tax returns are actually audited, but tax lawyers must advise clients based on the assumption every tax return will be examined…Understandably, taxpayers hope their returns will not be examined! However, amended returns are more likely to be examined than original returns. That should factor into your thinking.

3. Refunds can be applied to estimated taxes. If you file an amended return asking for considerable money back, the IRS may review the situation even more carefully. As an alternative, consider applying all or part of your refund to your current year’s tax. That can be lower profile.

4. Beware special statute of limitations rules. Normally the IRS has three years to audit a tax return…You might assume that filing an amended tax return would restart that three-year statute of limitations. Surprisingly, it doesn’t.

If your amended return shows an increase in tax, and you submit it within 60 days before the three-year statue runs, the IRS has only 60 days after it receives the amended return to make an assessment. See Internal Revenue Manual 25.6.1, Statute of Limitations Processes and Procedures. That means if the IRS doesn’t audit in that 60 day window, you’re home free.

Planning opportunities? Some people amend a return right before the statute expires. Plus, note that an amended return that does not report a net increase in tax does not trigger any extension of the statue of limitations. 

5. Don’t forget interest and penalties. If your amended return shows you owe more tax than you originally reported and paid, you’ll owe additional interest and probably penalties. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions. The IRS will compute the interest and send you a bill if you don’t include it. If the IRS thinks you owe penalties it will send you a notice, which you can either pay or contest.

Conclusion. Amended tax returns are tricky. You should never take tax return filing obligations lightly, and your original return should be as accurate as you can make it. If you discover afterward that amendments are needed, make sure you think through the various ramifications of filing an amended return.  

R&G Brenner can help you file all amended returns.

Source: Forbes