As disaster seasons across the country are getting longer because of climate change, so is tax season, according to a report by The Washington Post.
Since 2021, the Internal Revenue Service has extended tax filing deadlines in parts of 15 states that have been federally declared as “major disaster areas.” This year alone, the Post identified seven such areas in states such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, California, and Georgia.
Additionally, an analysis in the report shows that more than 40 percent of Americans live in counties hit by climate disasters in 2021, suggesting that disaster-related extensions could become the new normal throughout the country.
While anyone can receive an extension, disaster relief extensions are different. They can last about four months longer than a standard extension and allow taxpayers to continue making contributions to retirement and health savings accounts. And the main reason why is it can be difficult for taxpayers who have just lost key paperwork and records in a natural disaster to comply by the April deadline.
“If you had a tornado tear through a county a few weeks before the filing deadline, you do not want people to choose between the extremely important decisions they have to make for their family in that moment, and timely tax filing,” Jared Walczak, a vice president at the Tax Foundation, told the newspaper.