IRS tax filing relief for flood-stricken areas in southeast Texas

Published 04/18/2016


TEXAS - As the clock approaches midnight, the Internal Revenue Service has offered relief for taxpayers affected by the severe flooding throughout southeast Texas on Monday, April 18, the deadline to file federal income tax returns. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared certain areas of the state a disaster, thus granting residents in the following areas an extension: Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller, and Wharton counties.

The IRS released the following statement early Monday evening…

The Internal Revenue Service today advised taxpayers who are affected by severe weather in the Houston area and other parts of Texas that they may qualify for relief from penalties if they are unable to meet today’s deadline for filing 2015 tax returns.

There is no penalty for filing a late return qualifying for a refund. Taxpayers who owe tax, however, should file when they are reasonably able, and expect a notice regarding late filing and late payment penalties.

The IRS reminds taxpayers they can also qualify for an automatic six-month extension to file their tax returns. The fastest and easiest way to get the extra time is through Free File. Anyone, regardless of income, can use this free service to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension on Form 4868.

The IRS will continue to closely monitor the situation. Disaster declarations with individual assistance for areas are made by FEMA, which allows the IRS to provide additional relief for taxpayers.

If taxpayers receive a notice regarding a penalty, they can request a penalty abatement based on reasonable cause criteria. The IRS will review requests on a case-by-case basis.

Affected taxpayers may request abatement of penalties assessed on their 2015 federal income tax return by:

  • Contacting the IRS campus that issued the penalty assessment notice. The telephone number is listed on the notice.
  • Identifying themselves as a taxpayer affected by the severe storms during the period around April 18, 2016.
  • Requesting penalty relief, based on reasonable cause criteria.
  • Taxpayers who need to speak with an IRS representative can call 800-829-1040.