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The Internal Revenue Service announced that Texas residents, who have been battered by frigid winter temperatures, water system failures, and power outages, will receive a tax filing deadline extension.

Those who call the Lone Star State home will have until June 15 to submit their tax paperwork in lieu of the April 15 deadline, which applies to those who are unaffected by the disaster, according to a Monday announcement from the agency.

The IRS's move follows a disaster declaration by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on February 11," the IRS wrote. "As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until June 15, 2021, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes 2020 individual and business returns normally due on April 15, as well as various 2020 business returns due on March 15. Among other things, this also means that affected taxpayers will have until June 15 to make 2020 IRA contributions."


Over the past two weeks, uncharacteristic winter weather roiled Texas, leading to blackouts that peaked at 3.8 million homes without power. Outages leveled off to about 17,000 customers Tuesday afternoon, but the state faces yet another hurdle as nearly 14 million struggled with a lack of water stability on Sunday.

A total of 1,300 systems throughout 198 Texas counties were compromised and reported "disruptions in service." The announcement follows a host of fiery complaints from residents that utility bills are reaching costs as high as $17,000 for one month of service following rampant power outages.

On Saturday, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the utility bill complaints and announced a bipartisan effort to combat the fees.

“We have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages," he said. "Today’s meeting was productive, and I applaud Republican and Democrat members of the Legislature for putting aside partisan politics to work together on this challenge. We are moving quickly to alleviate this problem and will continue to work collaboratively throughout this week on solutions to help Texas families and ensure they do not get stuck with skyrocketing energy bills.”

On Tuesday, the governor added 500 licensed plumbers to the state's roster to combat the water issues. Pipes, some of which were reinforced with metal, burst at the seams as weather fluctuated above and below 0 degrees in many areas.


"Thank you to our plumbers and other utility professional that have stepped up to serve their fellow Texans as we recover from the severe winter weather," Abbott said. "We will continue to cut red tape and ensure that Texans have access to the resources they need to quickly repair their homes and put our state on a path to recovery."

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Carnival Cruise line extends canceled U.S. departures through May

Carnival Cruises departing out of the U.S. will be canceled through May 31.

The Miami-based cruise line on Wednesday notified passengers of an extension in the temprary pause of its cruise operations from U.S. ports, confirming that the suspension would last through the end of May. Carnival did not specify when it would resume.

Carnival has extended its pause on U.S. departures through May, 31.  (iStock)

"We continue to work on plans to resume operations and are encouraged by the focus to expedite vaccine production and distribution which are having a demonstrated impact on improving public health," Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a statement.


"We appreciate the support of all of our guests, employees and trade partners who we know are looking forward to our return."

The company in January announced its operations would be on pause through March 31, however, with spring break on the horizon and new contagious strains of the virus continuing to spread, more travel companies are proceeding with caution.

Instead, the cruise line will continue to give guests more flexible booking options, like canceling a trip without having to pay a fee. Guests can instead choose to receive a full refund, or be credited to book another package.

Guests can check on the status on their upcoming trips by visiting Carnival's website.


News of Carnival's extended pause comes a week after Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said he expected all of the cruise line's fleet to return to service by the end of the year.

"I think that certainly by the end of this year, most, if not all, of our fleet, I’m optimistic, will be in action," Donald said during a webinar, according to TravelPulse. "I think there’s a really high probability that all of them will be back by early next year if things continue to progress the way they have."

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