Sunday, September 29, 2019

Here’s what happens after a disaster that leads to relief for affected taxpayers

Disasters can strike without warning, causing damage and destruction. Before the IRS can authorize tax relief, the president must declare a federal disaster. Here's a rundown of tax-related things that usually happen after a disaster:

The IRS gives taxpayers more time to file and pay.

Taxpayers located in a disaster area may have extra time to file returns and pay taxes. The IRS's Twitter account and disaster assistance page provide disaster updates and links to resources. Taxpayers can also call the IRS's disaster line at 866-532-5227.

Taxpayers can qualify for a casualty loss tax deduction.

People who have damaged or lost property due to a federally declared disaster may qualify to claim a casualty loss deduction. They can claim this on their current or prior-year tax return. This may result in a larger refund. The IRS will quickly process these returns.  

People can file for a disaster loan or grant.

The Small Business Administration offers financial help to business owners, homeowners and renters. This help is for those in a federally declared disaster area. To qualify, a taxpayer must have filed all required tax returns.

Taxpayers might need a tax return transcript.

People affected by a disaster can get copies or transcripts of past tax returns for free by submitting one of two forms. These are Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, and Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. The taxpayer should state on the form the request is related to a disaster. They should also list the state and type of event. This helps speed up the process.

People should submit a change of address.

After a disaster, people might need to temporarily relocate. Those who move should notify the IRS know about their new address by submitting Form 8822, Change of Address (PDF).
The IRS encourages affected taxpayers to review all federal disaster relief by visiting disasterassistance.gov.

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