IRS is giving soggy Californians an extra month to file tax returns

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The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday offered a lifeboat of sorts to California residents and businesses floundering in the atmospheric river: more time to pay their income taxes.

The agency announced that taxpayers in any county subject to a federal emergency declaration have until May 15 to file their 2022 income tax returns. So far, 31 of the state’s 58 counties are in that group, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, and Ventura counties; if the return is expanded to more counties, the IRS will grant them the additional time as well.

The waiver is automatically offered to anyone whose address on file with the IRS is in a disaster area — you don’t need to ask for help or alert the agency that you’re late filing. If the IRS does send you a fine notice because you missed a TBEN that should have been waived, the agency advises that you call the number on the notice to have the fine cleared.

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The delay to mid-May applies to anything that would normally face deadlines of April 15 or earlier in 2023, including making tax breaks for an IRA or a health savings account.

Even better for businesses and other filers paying estimated or interim taxes, payments due in January, March and April have also been deferred. You can make them when you file your annual return on or before May 15.

The same goes for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns, which are normally due on January 31 and April 30. But payroll and tax returns due Jan. 8 must still be filed before Jan. 23 to avoid penalties, the IRS said. said.

Granted, if you’re entitled to a refund, you’ll still want to apply as soon as possible. Otherwise, give Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.

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If you live outside the designated disaster area, you may still qualify for the extended deadlines if you meet one of the following three conditions: The documents you need to complete your return are within the area (for example, if you are a shareholder of an S Corporation within the affected area); your tax advisor is in the disaster area and cannot finish the work on time; or you help the government or a recognized charity with relief efforts in the area. But you must let the IRS know by calling (866) 562-5227.

Another point: If you incur disaster-related losses that aren’t reimbursed or insured, you can write them off on your 2022 or 2023 tax return, the IRS says. “Be sure to write down the FEMA return number — 3691-EM — on any return claiming a loss,” the agency advised. IRS Publication 547 can walk you through the requirements.

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For more information, see the Disaster and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses page on the IRS site.

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