Texas CPAs Announce Federal Tax Relief For Texas Wildfire Victims

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President Obama Declares Bastrop County a Federal Disaster Area

Those who have suffered from the wildfires blanketing Bastrop County and sections of the Texas Hill Country may qualify for federal tax relief as President Obama has declared the county a federal disaster area.

This announcement, received by the Texas Society of CPAs, from the IRS North Texas governmental liaison and FEMA Region VI requires the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who live or have businesses in the disaster area. Deadlines falling on or after Aug. 30 and on or before Oct. 31 have been postponed to Oct. 31.

This includes corporations and other businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 15 to file their 2010 returns, and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 17. It also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter, normally due Sept. 15.

The IRS is also waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Aug. 30 and on or before Sept. 14, 2011, as long as the deposits were made by Sept. 14, 2011.

The IRS will automatically identify taxpayers in the covered disaster area and apply automatic filing and payment relief. Affected taxpayers who reside or have businesses outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request tax relief.

Affected taxpayers in federally declared disaster areas have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year. Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will give the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.

Individuals claiming the disaster loss on last year’s return should put the Disaster Designation “Texas/Wildfires” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.

To learn more about assistance and emergency relief for areas affected by a natural disaster go to http://1.usa.gov/9kbnXc

TSCPA (http://www.tscpa.org) is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional organization representing Texas CPAs. The society has 20 local chapters statewide and more than 28,000 members, one of the largest in-state memberships of any state CPA society in the United States. TSCPA is committed to serving the public interest with programs that advance the highest standards of ethics and practice within the CPA profession.


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Kelly Hardwick
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