IRS Finalizes Disaster-Related Tax Postponement Rule

After today, individual and corporate taxpayers serving in a combat zone or affected by a federally declared disaster will have certain federal tax filing and payment deadlines postponed by as much as a year, according to a final rule published in today's Federal Register by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS published a proposed rule to do this on July 15, 2008, and received no comments or request for a hearing, so it has finalized the regulations, which apply to disasters declared after Jan. 15, 2009.

The definitions in the rule make eligible "any individual, business entity, or sole proprietorship" that is not located in a covered disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline are located in the covered disaster area; any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster; and any other person determined by the IRS to be affected by a federally declared disaster.

The rule's text includes several examples showing how the postponements will work for taxpayers affected by a hypothetical hurricane, blizzard, or ice storm. This rule amends the Procedure and Administration Regulations (26 CFR part 301), which cover employment taxes, estate taxes, excise taxes, gift taxes, income taxes, and the penalties, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements for them. Section 7508A of the Internal Revenue Code is the section relating to the postponement of certain tax-related acts because of a federally declared disaster or terrorist or military action.

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