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Tax Season Is Getting Longer. Thanks, Climate Change!

Tax Season Is Getting Longer. Thanks, Climate Change!

Two of your favorite things are collaborating!

Climate change is altering life on Earth, affecting animal migration patterns and exacerbating natural disasters. It's also impacting when Americans file taxes.

Severe storms this tax season have pushed the IRS to grant filing extensions in several states. Due to extreme tornadoes in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, residents now have until July 31 to submit forms and payment.

Flooding, mudslides, and winter storms have extended the deadline to October 16 in some areas of Alabama, California, and Georgia. In New York, certain areas have until May 15 due to severe winter storms.

The IRS has extended the April tax deadline for fifteen states deemed “major disaster areas" since 2021. Parts of 27 states have received relief on other tax due dates in the same time.

These deferments make a big difference for families and small businesses, according to Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects at the Tax Foundation think tank. Instead of worrying about paperwork — and finding documents often damaged or destroyed during disasters — people can focus on rebuilding.

“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,” he told The Washington Post.

Data from The Post also found that in 2021, 40 percent of Americans lived in areas hit by climate disasters. In 1980, natural disasters caused $1 billion worth of damage every four months. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that in 2022, that level of damage occurred every three weeks.

“The risks are increasing no matter where we live,” added Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy. “We have to talk about how climate change is affecting our taxes, our vacations, our homes, our jobs, our kids, our health. Every aspect of our lives is being affected.”

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