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Tax Relief Available When Disaster Strikes

While current weather patterns point to an active hurricane season, the IRS wants taxpayers to know that disaster assistance and tax relief measures are in place should a natural disaster strike.

Before the Internal Revenue Service can authorize tax relief, though, the president has to declare the event a federal disaster. Once that occurs, tax relief measures can be set in motion.

Here’s a few of the tax tools taxpayers may be granted in a federally declared disaster.

More Time to File and Pay
Taxpayers located in a disaster area may receive extra time to file returns and pay taxes. The IRS Twitter account and disaster assistance page provide disaster updates and links to resources. Taxpayers can also call the IRS disaster line at 866.532.5227. 

Qualify for a Casualty Loss Tax Deduction
People whose property was damaged or lost in a federally declared disaster may qualify to claim a casualty loss deduction. They can claim this on their current or prior-year tax return and may get a larger refund. The IRS says it will process these returns quickly.   

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

Request 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 to help speed up the process.

Submit a Change of Address
After a disaster, taxpayers who might need to temporarily relocate should notify the IRS about their new address by submitting Form 8822, Change of Address. 

The IRS encourages affected taxpayers to review all federal disaster relief by visiting disasterassistance.gov

Additional Resources

The IRS has a number of other resources that can help map a course of action after a natural disaster:

Reconstructing records after a disaster
Tax relief in disaster situations
Around the nation
FAQs for disaster victims
Publication 2194, Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses
Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook
Publication 584-B, Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook

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