IRS offers Lilac fire victims tax filing extensions

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SAN DIEGO — Residents and businesses affected by the Lilac Fire and other recent natural disasters in California may qualify for extended tax filing deadlines, the Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday.

Certain filing deadlines between Dec. 4, 2017, and before April 30 will be extended for taxpayers who reside in or have a business in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and were affected by recent wildfires, flooding or mudslides.

That includes 2017 individual tax returns, which are due April 17, and fourth quarter estimated tax payment filings, normally due Jan. 16. The deadlines have been pushed back to April 30.

The IRS will also waive fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns by affected people.

The IRS automatically identified taxpayers who are covered by the relief. But those affected by the disaster who believe they have been wrongly penalized by the IRS for missing a deadline can call the agency’s disaster hotline at 866-562-5227.

By the county’s count, 113 homes were destroyed and 55 were damaged in the Lilac Fire, which broke out in Pala Mesa on Dec. 7. Driven by Santa Ana winds, the blaze that scorched 4,100 acres in North County over several days also destroyed two business structures and damaged another five. Ninety other buildings, such as sheds or barns, were destroyed and 18 were damaged, according to the county.