While most of the nation’s attention is turned to fall colors and the Thanksgiving holidays, residents of some Mississippi counties still have all-too-vivid memories of meaner weather earlier in the summer.
That’s when Hurricane Ida ravaged the state with high winds, heavy rain and serious flooding. Because of the problems caused by Ida, the Internal Revenue Service is placing some Mississippi Counties in the relief measures tailored to help the storm’s worst-off victims.
Not all of the state is covered by this relief package. Currently, the expanded relief applies to Amite, Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Franklin, Georgia, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pearl River, Pike, Simpson, Walthall, Wayne and Wilkinson counties.
Other counties may be added if they become part of the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s (FEMA) disaster declaration, which names counties and localities that qualify for individual or public assistance.
The terms of relief
In a nutshell, the IRS relief package postpones various deadlines for filing and paying federal taxes in the named counties until Jan. 3, 2022. In other parts of Mississippi—covered by a separate relief measure previously—the deadline remains Nov. 1 of this year.
To see a full list of eligible locations, check out the disaster relief page on the IRS website.
This new relief package applies only to the counties named, and delays filing and payment deadlines that otherwise would have started on August 28. The relief applies to qualified individuals and businesses alike, giving them until Jan. 3, 2022, to file tax returns and pay any tax that would have otherwise been due during that time.
Taxpayers with a valid extension to file by Oct. 15, 2021, now have until Jan. 3, 2022 to file. In the case of extensions, however, any tax due should have already been paid back on the original filing deadline of May 17 and is not covered by the new relief package.
What else is covered?
Quarterly estimated income tax payments, usually due in September, are also postponed due to the new relief terms, as are quarterly payroll and excise tax returns that would otherwise be due on November 1.
In addition, businesses with an original or extended due date have more time; this includes calendar-year partnerships and S corporations with 2020 extensions that ran out in September, and calendar-year corporations with 2020 extensions that ended on October 15.
Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations with 2020 extensions ending November 15 are also covered.
To see a full list of what returns, payments and other tax-related actions qualify for the January 3 filing date, visit the IRS disaster relief page.
Do not contact the IRS
There’s no need for taxpayers to contact the IRS to see if they qualify for the delayed filing and payment deadline. The agency automatically determines eligibility by the taxpayer’s address of record on file when a return is filed.
Taxpayers who qualify for relief but live outside one of the 19 currently named counties should contact the IRS at 866-562-5227; this includes relief workers who are part of a recognized government or philanthropic organization.
Taxpayers within the federal disaster area who seek to claim their uninsured or unreimbursed losses from the storm on their federal income tax return can do it in one of two ways. They can claim the losses on the return for the year the loss occurred—in this case, on their 2021 return that will be filed next year—or they can claim the loss on the return for the prior year, which would be 2020.
In either case, the taxpayer has to write the FEMA declaration number on any return claiming a loss. To claim a loss in the original disaster area, which includes the entire state of Mississippi, the declaration number is EM-3569.
The declaration number for the new, 19-county disaster declaration is EM-4626.
Publication 547 has details on filing and claiming disaster losses.
The IRS says its disaster relief measures are part of a coordinated response to Hurricane Ida that includes not just FEMA and the IRS, but a number of federal agencies. For the full scope of the federal response to the hurricane, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.