IRS provides tax relief in wake of attacks

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In the aftermath the Sept.11 tragedy, the Internal Revenue Service and Department of the Treasury assure taxpayers, businesses, and tax practitioners that they are working to resolve potential tax administration issues as they are identified.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are offering initial administrative tax relief for individual and business taxpayers who are unable to meet their federal tax obligations because they were directly affected by the terrorist attacks, regardless of where they reside.

This includes relief workers, survivors of the victims on the airplanes, taxpayers whose place of employment is in a disaster area, and taxpayers with records maintained in a disaster area.

In addition, the agencies are providing relief to taxpayers in the five boroughs of New York City declared disaster areas by the president, including those located in Arlington County, Virginia, home of the Pentagon.

Taxpayers who have an original filing deadline between Sept. 11, 2001 and Nov. 30, 2001 have an additional six months plus 120 days to file that return and make any payment due with that return. Taxpayers who are currently on an extension that expires between Sept. 11, 2001 and Nov. 30, 2001 will have an additional 120 days to file.

Individual taxpayers who faced an estimated tax payment date on Sept. 17, 2001 may postpone that payment by including the amount with their final estimated payments for tax year 2001, which are due on Jan. 15, 2002.

Affected corporate taxpayers who face an estimated tax payment after Sept. 10, 2001 and before Jan. 15, 2002 may postpone that payment until Jan. 15, 2002.

In addition, the IRS will suspend many enforcement activities such as levies, seizures, and summonses for six months.

Although the IRS cannot extend the deadline for employment or excise tax deposits, the agency will provide relief for businesses unable to make these deposits because of the terrorist attacks. The IRS will waive penalties on tax deposits made by these businesses between Sept. 11, 2001 and Oct. 31, 2001, if those deposits are made by Nov. 15, 2001.

The IRS will provide additional details on this relief in Notice 2001-61. For more information, visit Taxpayers who are entitled to the relief described should add "September 11, 2001—Terrorist Attack" at the top of returns in red ink. If they receive a notice from the IRS, they should contact the IRS to explain why they are entitled to relief.

People with tax issues related to the attacks can call (866) 562-5227, a toll-free phone number established by the IRS in the wake of the attacks. The line is available Monday through Friday, in English, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and in Spanish, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., local times.