Tax relief for Sandy victims

There may be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for those affected by Superstorm Sandy’s wrath — tax relief from the IRS.

President Barack Obama has declared Fairfield, Middlesex, New Haven and New London counties and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribal Nation located within New London County a federal disaster area. So individuals who reside or have a business in these counties, which includes Greenwich, may qualify for tax relief.

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 Oct. 27, and on or before Feb. 1, have been postponed to Feb. 1, 2013.

In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Oct. 27, and on or before Nov. 26, as long as the deposits are made by Nov. 26.

If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.

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 need to call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Under section 7508A, the IRS gives affected taxpayers until Feb. 1 to file most tax returns (including individual, corporate, and estate and trust income tax returns; partnership returns, S corporation returns, and trust returns; estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax returns; and employment and certain excise tax returns), or to make tax payments, including estimated tax payments, that have either an original or extended due date occurring on or after Oct. 27 and on or before Feb. 1.

Additionally, the IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers.

Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS website, irs.gov, or order them by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 800-829-1040.

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