Boston Marathon Tax Relief

Did you file your tax return yesterday? If not, did you file an extension to file? While your typical tax extension is only an extension to file your actual tax return, but not an extension to pay the tax owed, the Internal Revenue Service announced a three-month tax filing and payment extension to Boston area taxpayers and others affected by Monday’s Boston Marathon explosions.

Smartly, the IRS is allowing geographic and disaster related tax relief. This tax relief applies to all individual taxpayers who live in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Since the marathon was both a national and international event, the tax relief also applies to victims, families, first responders, others impacted by Monday’s Boston Marathon tragedy who live outside of Suffolk County and other taxpayers whose tax preparers were adversely affected by the tragic events.

“Our hearts go out to the people affected by this tragic event,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “We want victims and others affected by this terrible tragedy to have the time they need to finish their individual tax returns.”

Under this specific tax relief program, the IRS will allow eligible taxpayers until July 15, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and pay any taxes normally due April 15. Normally, non-filing and non-payment IRS penalties are severe and crushing. Under this tax relief program, no filing and payment penalties will be due as long as the tax returns are filed and the payments are made by July 15, 2013. By law, interest, currently at the annual rate of 3 percent compounded daily, will still apply to any payments made after the April deadline.

Unlike other IRS tax relief programs, generally, no specific action is necessary for this program. The IRS will automatically provide this extension to anyone living in Suffolk County. However, action is needed for impacted and qualified taxpayers who reside outside of Suffolk County. Eligible taxpayers living outside Suffolk County can claim this relief by calling 1-866-562-5227 beginning Tuesday, April 23, and identifying themselves to the IRS before filing their tax return or making their tax payment. Eligible taxpayers who receive penalty notices from the IRS can also call this number to have these penalties abated.