By the time Irma reached Georgia last week, she was not the hurricane she had been. But even in her diminished state she wreaked a great deal of havoc. After a statewide tour this week , the governor said the storm touched virtually every county and that recovery is likely to take a long time. He pledged tax relief, though he offered no detail on what form that might take.
It’s also unclear whether any action taken by the state will be matched in some way at the federal level. It is possible, however. Earlier this week, the tax collection agency announced that Irma victims in Florida and parts of the Caribbean now have a grace period for filing certain individual and business tax returns. It says deadlines for paying some estimated taxes on earnings are also postponed. The relief is available only to areas designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but it will expand to other areas as they gain eligibility.
This is obviously something that Georgia business operators and individuals will want to keep a close eye on. The display of flexibility does credit to government. But, even as the assistance is extended, there is bound to be confusion. And where there is confusion, there is the likelihood that mistakes will be made resulting in a disagreements with the state and IRS collectors.
It should be noted that federal officials did declare a state of emergency for Georgia ahead of the storm. The governor says all necessary requests for financial assistance in the wake of Irma have been made to Washington and he says he’s anticipating a favorable response. Whether IRS tax help will be part of the package remains to be seen.