As the National Taxpayer Advocate, I advocate for all taxpayers, regardless of whether they reside in the United States or abroad. Our hearts go out to the impacted people in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza because of the terrorist attacks beginning on October 7, 2023. I applaud the IRS for quickly providing filing and some payment relief for these taxpayers.
IRS Notice 2023-71
On Friday, October 13, 2023, the IRS issued Notice 2023-71, which provides a postponement of the due dates for filing tax returns and making payments. Affected taxpayers will have until October 7, 2024, to file tax returns, make tax payments, and perform certain time-sensitive acts listed in Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2018-58, 2018-50 I.R.B. 990 (December 10, 2018), that are due to be performed on or after October 7, 2023, and before October 7, 2024.
The affected taxpayers are:
- Any individual whose principal residence, and any business entity or sole proprietor whose principal place of business, is located in the State of Israel, the West Bank or Gaza (covered area);
- Any individual affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization and who is assisting in the covered area, such as a relief worker;
- Any individual, business entity or sole proprietor, or estate or trust whose tax return preparer or records necessary to meet a deadline for postponed acts are located in the covered area;
- Any spouse of an affected taxpayer, solely with regard to a joint return of two married individuals; and
- Any individual visiting the covered area who was killed, injured, or taken hostage as a result of the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks.
These acts include, but are not limited to:
- Filing any return of income tax, estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, excise tax (other than firearms tax), harbor maintenance tax, or employment tax;
- Paying any income tax, estate tax, gift tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, excise tax (other than firearms tax), harbor maintenance tax, or employment tax, or any installment of those taxes;
- Making contributions to a qualified retirement plan;
- Filing a petition with the U.S. Tax Court;
- Filing a claim for credit or refund of any tax; and
- Bringing suit upon a claim for credit or refund of any tax.
This is not an exhaustive list. For further information, see Treas. Reg. § 301.7508A-1(c)(1) and Rev. Proc. 2018-58.
I appreciate the IRS’s prompt response and recognition of the impact of the terroristic action on those individuals, families, and businesses. The last thing any taxpayer in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza should be concerned about is timely meeting their filing and payment obligations with the IRS; taxpayers should focus on their safety and that of their families, friends, and neighbors.
Taxpayers Unable to leave the Region
This notice does not appear to cover taxpayers who are visiting or are temporarily located in the covered area but whose principal residence, or principal place of business, is located outside the covered area and who are unable to return to the United States due to the October 7, 2023, terrorist attacks and timely meet their federal tax obligations. Reasonable cause penalty relief may be available to them under current IRS policy, including relief from failure to file or pay penalties .
I will urge the IRS to inform these taxpayers about the applicable reasonable cause criteria in requesting abatement of any penalties and will recommend the IRS be very proactive in assisting these individuals, families, and businesses if they are delayed in fulfilling their filing or payment obligations.
In summary, I appreciate the IRS’s swift action to postpone the filing and payment deadlines. TAS is here to assist and advocate for affected taxpayers who need help obtaining this relief or who run into problems despite this relief, whether located in the U.S. or abroad.