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Hurricane Ian Tax Relief in the Carolinas

Hurricane Ian was the fifth-strongest hurricane to reach the United States in history. It landed on the West Coast of Florida and dumped up to 20 inches of rain on the central part of the state. After moving into the Atlantic, it reached South Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane and continued to cause serious destruction in both Carolinas.

Over 89 fatalities have been reported. Many were individuals in Florida who were trapped by rising flood waters and drowned. Others were lost in devastating destruction at Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island.

Air traffic was grounded in the devastated areas. Over 2,000 flights per day were canceled from Wednesday through Friday in Florida and the following week in South Carolina. Tampa and Orlando airports were completely shut down, as was the Charleston International Airport in South Carolina.

Over 2.5 million Floridians were under evacuation orders. However, a number of individuals chose to stay in place and ride out the storm. There were record levels of power outages. At one point, approximately 25% of Florida or 2.7 million customers were in the dark.

The insured losses in Florida are expected to exceed $60 billion. This is the second largest disaster loss. It trails Hurricane Katrina that struck New Orleans in 2005, which caused almost $90 billion in losses when inflation adjusted to 2022.

With winds of 150 miles per hour when it reached Cayo Costa, Florida, Ian was the fifth highest speed hurricane in U.S history. There were winds of 140 mph in Cape Coral, 135 mph in Punta Gorda and 112 mph in Pelican Bay. The gusts in South Carolina reached 94 mph.

A major risk of any hurricane is the storm surge. The West Coast of Florida had a maximum storm surge of 12 feet. Both Naples and Fort Myers surpassed the highest water levels previously recorded.

Central Florida reported 20 inches of rain in multiple areas. Union Park, northeast of Orlando, had a record 21.16 inches of rain.

As a result of the damage in Florida and the Carolinas, in IR-2022-173 the IRS extended the previous Florida tax relief to the Carolinas. Individuals in Florida, North Carolina or South Carolina will have until February 15, 2023 to file most tax returns. These filing deadlines will occur for tax and payment requirements that commenced on September 25 in South Carolina or September 28 in North Carolina

Many individuals had a 2021 tax return filing date extension until October 17, 2022. Taxpayers in these three states may now delay filing until February 15, 2023. However, tax payments were due on April 18, 2022 and the relief will not apply to those amounts.

The relief also will generally apply to quarterly estimated income tax payments and certain excise payments. Eligible South Carolina payroll and excise tax deposits will not accrue penalties if they are made by October 11, 2022. Eligible North Carolina deposits are required to be made by October 13, 2022.

The IRS emphasizes that it will automatically provide the filing and penalty relief to anyone with a permanent address in the disaster area within the three states. Unreimbursed disaster-related losses may be deducted on a 2022 tax year return or a return for tax year 2021. The Federal Emergency Management Agency number for South Carolina is DR-3585-EM-SC and DR-3586-EM-NC for North Carolina

Published October 7, 2022
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