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IRS tax relief to Irene victims: Do you qualify?

IRS says residents in hard-hit areas of New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina will get an extension until Oct. 31 to make tax payments and file certain IRS returns.

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First responders work on cleaning up the damage caused by tropical storm Irene in Prattsville in Greene County, N.Y., on Wednesday. Residents and businesses in Greene and seven other New York counties are eligible for tax relief from the IRS.

Hans Pennink/AP

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Americans living in parts of three states hit hard by hurricane Irene have extra time to file certain returns and make tax payments, the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday.

In certain counties of New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina, businesses and residents will have September and October filing deadlines pushed back to Oct. 31.

For example: Individuals and businesses who had already received an extension to file their 2010 returns will have their filing deadline extended from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31. Ditto for corporations and businesses who had an Oct. 17 deadline; they can now file as late as Oct. 31.

Also, those individuals and businesses making estimated tax payments for the third quarter, normally due Sept. 15, can now make them as late as Oct. 31. Other federal tax transactions can also be delayed. See the IRS announcement for details.

Not only do taxpayers in those areas get more time to file their returns, they also won’t be charged additional interest or penalties. Typically, a taxpayer who asks for an extension to file his annual return still has to pay an interest charge if he owes the government money. Under the tax relief provision, however, the interest only accrues from April 15 through Sept. 15. There’s no extra charge if the taxpayer doesn’t file until Oct. 31.

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