Metro-East News

State suspends late-filing fees for taxpayers in counties hit by flooding

The Illinois Department of Revenue is forgoing penalties and interest on late income taxes filed in the 23 counties that were declared disaster areas as a result of the recent flooding.

The announcement from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office on Friday applies only to tax filings between Dec. 23 and June 30.

The state is directing taxpayers who mail late returns to write in red ink “Flood — December 2015” on the outside of envelopes as well as on every page of their tax forms.

The Department of Revenue did not have any estimates as to how many people may use the waiver, nor did it have available information about how much it typically takes in from penalties and interest.

“The Department of Revenue has a systemic process for handling this in our tax system,” Department of Revenue spokesman Terry Horstman said in an email.

Allowing people to file taxes late won’t have much of an effect on tax preparers, either, said Melissa Brammeier, a district manager for H&R Block based in Sparta.

Brammeier thought farmers may experience more problems with filing, especially those who keep receipts and may have been flooded. H&R Block backs up its customers’ paperwork so nothing is lost, Brammeier said.

People who file taxes electronically or use MyTax Illinois can find instructions on how to take advantage of the new measure at tax.illinois.gov. Questions can be sent to REV.DisasterRelief2015@illinois.gov.

The 23 counties declared disaster areas include Alexander, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Clinton, Cumberland, Douglas, Iroquois, Jackson, Jersey, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Menard, Monroe, Morgan, Moultrie, Pike, Randolph, Richland, Sangamon, St. Clair, and Vermilion.

Casey Bischel: 618-239-2655, @CaseyBischel

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