Tax Relief for Hurricane Victims with Financial Ties to New Jersey

John Reitmeyer | September 18, 2017 | Budget
NJ Treasury officials follow IRS lead, extend filing deadlines for those hit by Harvey, Irma who have financial links with Garden State

Hurricane Harvey
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma brought devastation in recent weeks to states and territories that are located far from New Jersey’s borders, but now state officials have decided to provide some tax relief to victims of the two storms who have financial ties to the Garden State.

New Jersey’s Division of Taxation is granting extensions of many tax-filing and payment deadlines for individuals and businesses that were impacted by the two hurricanes, pushing most deadlines for those located in the disaster areas to January 31.

The extensions follow similar actions taken by the Internal Revenue Service in the wake of the two hurricanes, and they apply to those who pay sales, income, and corporate business taxes to the state of New Jersey even if they are residents of — or their businesses are located in — the places that were impacted by the two storms.

For Hurricane Harvey, the IRS granted extensions to individuals and businesses in nearly 20 counties in Texas. For Hurricane Irma, the extensions were granted to individuals and businesses in more than 40 counties in Florida, which is one of the top outmigration states for New Jersey residents, according to recent studies. (Residents in parts of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico that were hit hard by Irma also qualify for the tax extensions.)

Officials from the New Jersey Department of Treasury announced last week that it too would be relaxing tax deadlines for storm victims who have financial ties to the Garden State using the same schedule as the IRS.

Making it easier for taxpayers

New Jersey treasury officials said the changes would make things easier for a group of taxpayers that could include residents of the impacted states and territories who earlier this year were sent by their employers to work for a period in New Jersey — meaning they now owe income taxes to the state of New Jersey. Businesses located in storm-impacted states who make sales in New Jersey could also be among those who could take advantage of the relaxed deadlines, the officials said. They said the tax relief will also help tax preparers in the storm-impacted locations who have clients in New Jersey and partnerships that have New Jersey-sourced income but nonresident partners.

New Jersey provided similar tax relief to its own residents in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which caused more than $35 billion worth of damage after making landfall near Atlantic City on October 29, 2012. Treasury officials say they do not expect the tax extensions being granted to the victims of Harvey and Irma to have a significant impact on the current state budget since the tax revenue is still going to be collected by the state during the 2018 fiscal year, which runs through June 30.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 26 at Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, with 130 mph winds. The massive storm stalled over southern Texas for several days, dropping several feet of rain that triggered significant flooding in Houston and many surrounding communities. Damage estimates have soared to over $100 billion, and the recovery is expected to take years.

Hurricane Irma, meanwhile, made landfall in Cudjoe Key, Florida on September 10 as a Category 4 hurricane, with winds reaching 130 mph before moving up the entire length of the state. The storm forced the closure of Walt Disney World in Orlando, the cancellation of a National Football League game in Miami, and caused an estimated $50 billion in damage. Before plowing into Florida, Irma also caused significant damage in the Caribbean, including in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

In response to the two storms, IRS officials announced that the federal government would be relaxing filing deadlines for taxpayers in the storm-impacted states and territories. For example, filing deadlines falling between August 23 and January 31 were pushed back to January 31 by the IRS for Harvey victims. Likewise, tax deadlines falling between September 4 and January 31 were pushed back to January 31 for Irma victims.

2016 income tax returns included

For individual filers, the New Jersey Treasury’s announcement of relaxed tax deadlines also covers those who filed 2016 income tax returns and were granted an extension until October 16, 2017. But because the tax payments related to those returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, the payments will be considered late and are subject to penalties and interest, the officials said.

As of last week, the New Jersey tax relief is available to Harvey victims in the Texas counties of Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, San Patricio, Sabine, San Jacinto, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

The tax relief is available to Irma victims located in the Florida counties of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia.

The tax relief is also available for Irma victims in the U.S. Virgin Island islands of St. John and St. Thomas and the Puerto Rico municipalities of Culebra, Vieques, Canóvanas, and Loíza.

More information about the extended state and federal tax deadlines is available from New Jersey’s Division of Taxation and the IRS.