What Happens After a Disaster? Is There Tax Relief?

natural disaster

Natural disasters are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in parts of the country. When disasters strike hard, suddenly it can place a huge burden on taxpayers.

The IRS can and does offer tax relief to people, but in order to do this the president at the time must make a declaration that the natural disaster in question is a designated Federal disaster.

If you live in a disaster-prone area, it’s good to be aware of what you can expect when it comes to your taxes.

The IRS Offers More Time to File Your Taxes and Pay What You Owe

It’s common practice for taxpayers in disaster areas to be given additional time to file their tax returns for the year, and to pay any outstanding tax.

For the latest information, you should either visit the IRS website or follow the Twitter account of the IRS. They will provide updates on the natural disaster and point taxpayers in the direction of helpful resources. Taxpayers can also get in touch with the IRS directly about natural disasters.

Deadline extensions always depend on the nature of the disaster in question.

You May Qualify for a Casualty Loss Tax Deduction

The IRS has a special casualty loss tax deduction for those who have suffered losses in an area that has been declared a Federal disaster area.

If your property was damaged or loss, you can claim this tax deduction when you file your tax return. This deduction will either reduce your total tax bill or may offer a bigger refund than usual.

The IRS makes an effort to process these tax returns as quickly as possible so taxpayers can get the relief they need.

Taxpayers Might Be Eligible for a Special Loan or Grant

The Small Business Administration makes a special effort to provide financial aid to homeowners, renters, and business-owners who have been hurt by a financial disaster. Again, taxpayers must live in a Federal disaster area to become eligible for these loans and grants.

You must file all required tax returns to qualify for any special loans or grants from the Small Business Administration.

Get Copies of All Your Past Tax Returns

You should always keep all previous tax returns in case you receive an audit. The IRS offers free copies and transcripts to taxpayers who have experienced a natural disaster.

To get these copies and transcripts you should file Form 4506 with the IRS and Form 4506-T. Make sure you write that the request is due to a natural disaster. To make this process faster you should also write which state you live in and the disaster in question.

Tell the IRS About a New Address

It’s normal for those afflicted by a disaster to have to relocate for the short-term to medium-term. Ensure the IRS can still contact you by telling them about a new address. You should submit Form 8822 for this.

Federal disaster relief changes all the time, so make sure you go out of your way to review any alterations, so you don’t find yourself left in the dark.

Online Tax Filing Can Help!

Don’t worry about knowing these tax laws. Online tax filing programs like TurboTax and H&R Block will ask you simple questions about you and give you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your entries.

If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a Live CPA or Enrolled Agent with an average 15 years experience to get your tax questions answered. Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish and can review, sign, and file your tax return.

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