IRS offers tax relief for disaster victims
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 9:11 pm
Victims of severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding beginning April 19 in parts of Tennessee may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.
The following counties have been declared a federal disaster area — Obion, Lake, Dyer Shelby and Stewart counties.
Individuals who live in or have a business in these counties may qualify for tax relief.
The declaration permits the Internal Revenue Service to postpone certain deadlines for taxpayers who reside or have a business in the disaster area.
For instance, certain deadlines falling on or after April 19 and on or before June 30 have been postponed to June 30.
In addition, the IRS is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after April 19 and on or before May 4, as long as the deposits were made by May 4.
If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be abated only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the postponement period.
The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 to request the tax relief.
Affected taxpayers in a federally declared disaster area have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either this year or last year.
Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund, but waiting to claim the loss on this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.
Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements.
The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite requests for copies of previously filed tax returns for affected taxpayers.
Taxpayers may download forms and publications from the official IRS Web site, www.irs.gov, or order them by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).
The IRS toll-free number for general tax questions is 1-800-829-1040.
Published in The Messenger 5.11.11
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