Florence and Darlington counties were declared eligible to apply for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program on Tuesday, Oct. 2, bringing the total number of SC counties under that declaration to eight.

Residents in Chesterfield, Dillon, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties previously were named eligible to apply for FEMA aid.

FEMA amended its disaster declaration for Hurricane Florence at the request of Gov. Henry McMaster.

After a designation for Individual Assistance, the IRS can decide to extend deadlines for filing returns, paying taxes and performing other time-sensitive acts for affected taxpayers. This has been granted for Dillon, Horry, Marion and Marlboro counties, and it is expected to soon be granted for Chesterfield, Georgetown, Darlington and Florence.

The declaration permits the IRS to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area. For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after Sept. 8, 2018, and before Jan. 31, 2019, are granted additional time to file through Jan. 31, 2019. This includes taxpayers who had a valid extension to file their 2017 return due to run out on Oct. 15, 2018. It also includes the quarterly estimated income tax payments due on Sept. 17, 2018, and Jan. 15, 2019, and the quarterly payroll and excise tax returns normally due on Oct. 31, 2018. It also includes tax-exempt organizations that operate on a calendar-year basis and had an automatic extension due to run out on Nov. 15, 2018.

In addition, penalties on payroll and excise tax deposits due on or after Sept. 8, 2018, and before Sept. 24, 2018, will be abated as long as the deposits are made by Sept. 24, 2018.

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 that falls within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate the penalty.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866.562.5227 to request this tax relief.

Survivors who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for Federal assistance by registering at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800.621.3362.
Assistance can include money for temporary rental assistance and essential home repairs for primary homes, low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help survivors recover from the effects of the disaster.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue announced last week that it will work on a case-by-case basis to waive any penalties assessed for taxpayers who cannot meet state filing or payment requirements because of Hurricane Florence.

Also, residents in affected areas can eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. If your job has been affected by Hurricane Florence, go to dew.sc.gov and click the MyBenefits Login in the top right corner to apply through the unemployment insurance benefits system. There is a 30-day window to apply based on when help was declared for that county. For help, call 866.831.1724.

SCACPA is keeping you informed about developments from Hurricane Florence via our Disaster Readiness webpage at www.scacpa.org/disaster-readiness.