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Newsom, IRS give Californians until October to file tax returns

Good news for most Californians who owe taxes to the federal or state government: The deadline for filing your return and paying what you owe has been pushed back to October.

The allowance is available to anyone who lives or works in the 44 provinces covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency declaration. That includes Los Angeles, Ventura, and San Diego counties. FEMA’s action came in response to severe winter storms that caused flooding, landslides and mudslides between December 27 and January 31.

State and federal authorities had previously pushed back the deadline to May 15. Last week, however, the Internal Revenue Service pushed it back again, until October 16. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state is doing the same.

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

The delay to mid-October applies to any 2022-related action that would have had an April 17 deadline, including making tax breaks for an IRA or a health savings account. That gives Californians more time to raise the funds needed to maximize these deductions.

Even better for corporations and other applicants paying estimated or interim taxes, quarterly payroll taxes and excises, or entity-charged elective taxes — all such payments due prior to October are also deferred. You can make them when you file your annual return on or before October 16.

Granted, if you need to get a refund, you’ll want to file it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you give the government an interest-free loan.

If you live outside the designated disaster area, the IRS says you can still qualify for the extended deadlines if you meet one of three conditions: Records you need to complete your report are within the area (for example, if you are a shareholder in an S company 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 the FEMA return number — (EM-3591) — on any return claiming a loss,” the agency advised. IRS Publication 547 can walk you through the requirements.

For more information, refer to the Disaster relief and emergency relief for individuals and businesses page on the IRS site and the IRS Instructions for Form 4684.

You can deduct your disaster damage of your state refund, at; see Franchise Tax and Customs Administration Publication 1034 for more guidance. Write the name of the disaster in blue or black ink at the top of your report, or if you’re reporting electronically, follow the instructions in the software to enter the disaster information.

As with the IRS, if you receive a late notice after taking advantage of the new deadline, the governor’s office said, you should call the phone number on the notice and ask for the fine to be waived.

LA County Assessor Jeff Prang also said that storm damage over $10,000 can make you eligible for a reassessment that lowers your property taxes.

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