Hurricane Isaac has caused an estimated $2 billion worth of damage with at least 13,000 homes and countless other structures damaged in Louisiana alone. The devastation was enough for the IRS to announce special tax relief for the following affected counties:
- In Louisiana: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany parishes.
- In Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl counties.
What kind of tax relief, you ask? The IRS basically gives taxpayers and businesses in the affected areas extensions on filing and paying certain taxes that were due on or after August 26, 2012. For example, somebody living in Jefferson Co., Louisiana who requested a filing extension for their 2011 taxes will no longer have to file by October 15th. Instead, the new deadline will be January 11, 2013. And this is regardless of individual circumstances; everyone in the affected counties will be allowed to postpone filing and/or payment. The other benefit is that the IRS will abate both penalties and interest that would otherwise accrue during the period leading up to January 11th.
It’s actually FEMA that goes out and assesses the damage, and IRS designates disaster areas based on FEMA reports. There are 14 disaster areas now, but will that list continue to grow? It may be too early to kiss Isaac goodbye. A remnant of Isaac is lurking in the Gulf of Mexico that experts say could regenerate into another hurricane if conditions are just right. Apparently this is what happened with Katrina in 2005.