We at Gordon Arata Montgomery Barnett express our sincere heartfelt sympathy to all those who are in the path of Hurricane Harvey.  You assisted us when Katrina and Rita hit Louisiana twelve years ago and we are here now to assist our friends in Texas.

We have been in contact with some of you already and appreciate your concerns.  We stand ready to assist you in your time of need.  If for example, you should need office space, please contact us.  We have limited office space available in our Houston office and additional spaces in New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge offices.  Also, the firm has set up a Harvey Emergency Recovery Team to assist with your needs, including the following:

  • Business Interruption Claims/Insurance Coverage
  • FEMA assistance/SBA Loans
  • Tax Relief
  • Force Majeure Issues
  • Real Estate Issues/Leasing Issues
  • Environmental/Toxic Tort
  • Employment Issues
  • Oil & Gas Issues
  • Admiralty and Maritime
  • Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights
  • Construction Issues

Please do not hesitate to contact us at gambharvey@gamb.law.

We also want to provide you with some information regarding the federal and state tax return filing and payment relief which has just been made available to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Federal Tax Return Filing and Payment Relief to Victims of Hurricane Harvey; 2016 Returns on Valid Extension Have Until Jan. 31st to File

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that Hurricane Harvey victims in parts of Texas have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes an additional filing extension for taxpayers with valid extensions that run out on Oct. 16th, and businesses with extensions that run out on Sept. 15th.

The IRS is now offering this expanded relief to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as qualifying for individual assistance. Currently, 18 counties are eligible, but taxpayers in localities added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.

The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on Aug. 23, 2017. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the Sept. 15, 2017 and Jan. 16, 2018 deadlines for making quarterly estimated tax payments. For individual tax filers, it also includes 2016 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until Oct. 16, 2017. Please note that because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, those payments are not eligible for this relief.

A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the Oct. 31st deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. In addition, the IRS will waive late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after Aug. 23 and before Sept. 7, if the deposits are made by Sept. 7, 2017. Details on available relief can be found on the disaster relief page on IRS.gov.

The IRS will automatically provide filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.

In addition, the IRS will work with taxpayers who live outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. Taxpayers qualifying for relief who live outside the disaster area must contact the IRS at 866-562-5227. This relief also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization.

Individuals and businesses who suffered uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2017 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2016). See IRS Publication 547 for details.

Currently, the following Texas counties are eligible for relief: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton.

The tax relief is part of a coordinated federal response to the damage caused by severe storms and flooding and is based on local damage assessments by FEMA. For information on disaster recovery, visit disasterassistance.gov.

For information on government-wide efforts related to Hurricane Harvey, please visit: https://www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey.

Relief from Texas Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines for Taxpayers in Disaster Areas

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced on Friday that taxpayers in declared disaster areas affected by Hurricane Harvey can postpone paying state taxes while they recover from storm-related losses. Businesses located in those areas can call the Comptroller’s office and request up to a 90-day extension to file and pay certain monthly and quarterly state taxes.

In addition to allowing the Comptroller to extend tax-filing deadlines, Texas law exempts certain recovery-related expenses from sales tax, including:

  • the cost of labor to repair storm-damaged, nonresidential property, including office buildings and stores. Labor charges must be separately stated on the repair bill. Texas does not impose sales tax on labor for residential repairs.
  • services used to restore storm-damaged tangible personal property, including dry cleaning of clothing and draperies, rug and carpet cleaning, and appliance repairs regardless of whether the property is residential or nonresidential.

For more information or to request a tax filing extension, call the Texas Comptroller’s toll-free tax assistance line in Austin at 800-252-5555, or go to the Comptroller’s website for answers to frequently asked questions.

Gordon, Arata, Montgomery, Barnett, McCollam, Duplantis & Eagan, LLC
201 St. Charles Ave., 40th Floor | New Orleans, LA 70170-4000
Main:  (504) 582-1111
gambharvey@gamb.law
www.gamb.law

Disclaimer:  Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, this Firm would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.