Even as Hurricane Sandy was hitting the mid-Atlantic, agencies and departments in Manhattan, Albany and Washington were issuing statements and modifying rules in anticipation of the storm. The following is a summary of key tax relief notices that may make life a little easier as individuals and businesses—and the CPAs who serve them—get back on track.
New York State
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has posted a Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief Page and continues to update it with storm-related notices:
Notice of Tax Deadline Extensions (Important Notice N-12-11). Deadlines have been postponed until Nov. 14 for filing any returns, including those for personal income tax, corporate taxes, sales tax, highway use tax and any other taxes the NYSDTF administers. Payment of most taxes is also included. The notice specifically includes the filing of MCTMT protective claims in the extension. In general, taxpayers who are victims of the storm who reside in or have a principal place of business in New York are covered.
Notice of Tax Deadline Extensions for Employers (Important Notice N-12-12). This is similar to the above notice, and explains that employer-paid taxes are also extended to Nov. 14. Taxes covered under NYS-1 and the MCTMT are included in the extensions. The department provides simple instructions for requesting the extension.
Notice of Waiver for Highway Use Taxes (Important Notice N-12-10). From Oct. 26, 2012, through Jan. 24, 2013, motor vehicles operated on New York do not need a HUT certificate of registration, HUT decal, IFTA license, or IFTA decals that are ordinarily required, when exclusively providing disaster assistance, supplies, and equipment in response to Hurricane Sandy,
Suspension of Tax Provisions for Fuel Distributors and Transporters in Response to Hurricane Sandy (Important Notice N-12-13). In order to keep motor fuel and diesel fuel flowing into the state, Governor Cuomo has issued an Executive Order that suspends registration, licensing, certification, manifest, and record-keeping requirements for distributors and transporters of motor fuel and diesel motor fuel from Nov. 1 until further notice.
Tax Treatment of Dyed Diesel Motor Fuel In Response to Hurricane
Sandy (Important Notice N-12-14). As part of Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, dyed diesel motor fuel may be sold for use or used in a motor vehicle on New York State highways from October 30, 2012, through November 20, 2012.
New York City is matching the state’s modifications with its own Nov. 14 extension, which applies to taxes overseen by the city’s department of finance.
President declares major disaster for New York (Oct. 30) The following counties under PA-B include direct federal assistance: Bronx County, Kings County, Nassau County, New York County, Queens County, Richmond County and Suffolk County. See a list of counties eligible for individual and public assistance.
Federal Aid Programs for State of New York Disaster Recovery (Oct. 30) Provides a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for New York.
The IRS Latest News Page has been posting releases starting Oct. 31; some of them include links to podcasts and videos as well.
Extensions for Those Affected by Hurricane (IR-2012-82) (Oct. 31). The IRS is granting taxpayers and tax preparers affected by Hurricane Sandy until Nov. 7 to file returns and accompanying payments normally due Oct. 31. The memo notes this relief primarily applies to businesses whose payroll and excise tax returns and payments are normally due by the end of October. No action is required by the taxpayer, says the release: relief is automatic.
Return Filing and Tax Payment Deadline Extended to Feb. 1, 2013 (IR-2012-83) (Nov. 2). The IRS is postponing various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting in late October. Hurricane-affected individuals and businesses now have until Feb. 1, 2013, to file these returns and pay any taxes due. Included are: fourth-quarter individual estimated tax payments, normally due Jan. 15, 2013; payroll and excise tax returns and accompanying payments for the third and fourth quarters, normally due on Oct. 31, 2012, and Jan. 31, 2013; and tax-exempt organizations required to file Form 990 series returns with an original or extended deadline falling during this period.
Qualified Disaster Treatment of Payments to Victims of Hurricane Sandy (IR-2012-84) (Nov. 2). The IRS makes it clear that qualified disaster relief payments made to individuals by their employers or others can be excluded from their taxable income. Such payments include, for example, amounts to cover necessary personal, family, living or funeral expenses that were not covered by insurance.
Diesel Fuel Penalty Waived Due to Hurricane Sandy (IR-2012-85) (Nov. 3). From Oct. 30 through Nov. 20, in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, the IRS will not impose a tax penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway. (Dyed diesel fuel is typically exempt from tax because it is used for special situations, such as farming, as opposed to highway use.) Also, the IRS will not impose the tax penalty on a failure to meet the requirements of EPA highway diesel fuel sulfur content regulations, if the EPA has waived those requirements.
The economic effects of Hurricane Sandy are reverberating beyond areas hit by the storm as businesses warn customers of delays, try to get merchandise out of closed ports and face canceled orders.
In addition to shutting down shipping terminals and submerging warehouses, the storm also tangled up deliveries because of downed power lines, closed roads and scarce gasoline in parts of New York and New Jersey.
The supply chain is backing up at a crucial time, just as retailers normally bring their final shipments into stores for the holiday shopping season, which retailers depend on for annual profitability.
“Things are slowing down,” said Chris Merritt, vice president for retail supply chain solutions at the trucking company Ryder. “This whole part of the supply chain is clogged up.”
FedEx, for example, has rented fuel tankers to supply its delivery trucks as commercial gas stations run dry. Ryder has been hunting down rental trucks to add capacity. CSX, the major railroad company, was continuing to advise customers to expect delays of at least 72 hours on shipments. And retailers ranging from Amazon to Diane von Furstenberg have told customers to expect delays on shipments.