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Feb. 26, 2021, 11:52 a.m. EST

IRS pushes back tax-filing deadline for Texas and Oklahoma taxpayers after devastating winter storm

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By Andrew Keshner

The Internal Revenue Service wants to give taxpayers more time to pick up the pieces of their financial lives after Winter Storm Uri.

Texas and Oklahoma residents will have extra time to file their taxes this year, the Internal Revenue Service said this week, attempting to give people in the two states more time to pick up the pieces of their financial lives after a devastating winter storm hit earlier in the month.

Residents in the two states now have a June 15 deadline to file their 2020 income taxes and pay any federal taxes owed, the IRS said. This deadline extension also applies to taxpayers who have a business in the disaster area, the IRS said , noting this also pushes back the March 15 business-tax-return filing deadline. The IRS extensions follow Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations.

See also: Disaster tax-relief measures in the latest pandemic aid bill could help people impacted by the South’s deep freeze

Taxpayers in the rest of the country must still meet the April 15 deadline, even though some lawmakers want to change that.

There may be scenarios where someone will qualify for the deadline extension even if they don’t live in Texas or Oklahoma, IRS spokesman Eric Smith explained.

For example, if a business is located in Texas but the business owner lives elsewhere, they can qualify, he said. Another example would be if someone elsewhere needs important tax records that are located in Texas, but those records are being held up because of disaster recovery.

The IRS says it will work with taxpayers outside the disaster area who might need some form of filing relief. These people should call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.For people in the disaster area, the IRS said it will automatically arrange the filing and penalty relief.

The breathing room is welcome news for Texas and Oklahoma residents, but it’s not a new type of accommodation. For example, the IRS has previously pushed back deadlines for people affected by hurricanes.

Last year, the IRS pushed the filing deadline back to July 15 for everyone because of the pandemic.

The IRS should extend the filing deadline this year too, a group of Democratic lawmakers said last week.

Though demand for free tax preparation is high, many sites are physically closed due to the pandemic. That puts low-income taxpayers with little English proficiency and taxpayers with less digital access at a special disadvantage, they say.

Texas and Oklahoma taxpayers, and everyone else, can seek extensions to submit their returns by Oct. 15.

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