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14993: Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands - Tax Relief Due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Hurricane + Disaster Relief

The IRS is providing tax relief for evacuated residents due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

October 4, 2017 IRS Newswire IR-2017-168 

"WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued guidance to provide relief to residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who evacuated or couldn’t return because of Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria.  The relief extends the usual 14-day absence period to 117 days (beginning September 6, 2017 and ending December 31, 2017) for the presence test for residency under the tax rules.  Further, an individual who is absent from either U.S. territory on any day during this 117-day period will be treated as leaving or being unable to return to the relevant U.S. territory as a result of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria on such day.

There are several exceptions to the general 183-day presence test that require an individual to be in the location where he or she claims residence for 183 days during the tax year.  Usually, residents could include up to 14 days in the 183-day period because of a declared disaster.

However, because of the unprecedented and catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued Notices of a Presidential declaration of a major disaster for both territories and the IRS in Notice 2017-56 has extended the 14-day period to 117 days.

Publication 570 contains an explanation of the presence test for residents of territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands."

In Drake Tax

For applicable taxpayers to receive the relief indicated above, nothing is required to be entered or indicated if the taxpayer’s mailing address is in the FEMA disaster area.

Taxpayers with a mailing address outside the disaster area that qualify for relief will need to contact the IRS at 866-562-5227.

  • Note: taxpayers living outside of the disaster area may also qualify for relief if their tax preparer was affected. Both situations must apply:
    • the preparer is in the disaster area, and
    • the preparer is unable to file or pay on the taxpayer's behalf.

In Drake16 and prior, the disaster designation on the PRNT screen is for state use only; an entry in that field will not appear on or affect the federal return. 

Starting in Drake17, a Disaster Designation drop down has been added to the MISC screen and the state-only entry was removed from the PRNT screen. This drop down should be used to indicate if the return is subject to disaster special rules. The most common disasters are listed. For any applicable disasters not listed, you can manually enter it in the box below. 

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