Here’s some info from the Internal Revenue Service about the agency’s efforts to help taxpayers having problems in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene:
• Under the federal disaster declaration, the Internal Revenue Service can postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers. For instance, deadlines falling on or after Aug. 27 and on or before Oct. 31, have been postponed to Oct. 31, 2011.
This includes corporations and other businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 15 to file 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.
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Aug. 27 and on or before Sept. 12, as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 12, 2011.
The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in a designated 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 1-866-562-5227 to request tax relief.
• Taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area 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 get 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, the IRS says.
Individuals may deduct personal property losses not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. For details, see Form 4684 and its instructions.
Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on last year’s return should put the Disaster Designation “Connecticut/Tropical Storm Irene” at the top of the form so that the IRS can expedite the processing of the refund.
Download forms and publications from the official IRS website — www.irs.gov — or order them by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.