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IRS Tax Relief and Help for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

The US government and federally funded programs are available to help hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake and other disasters, and there is also tax benefits and relief for victims. You can find more information on tax benefits and relief from the IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations.

As one of the millions of victims of Hurricane Katrina, because I had to do the research, you get to share in the benefit of what I found. I am not a tax expert, but I’m slowly becoming a disaster expert ;-). This is just a list of what I found – you have to do some of the work to find out if and how it applies to you.

If you are a victim of Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita, here are some things you need to know from the IRS.

  • Deadlines for affected taxpayers to file any returns, pay any taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts have been postponed to February 28, 2006. In Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, this relief applies to any return due on or after Aug. 29, 2005. In Florida, where Katrina hit first, the date is on or after Aug. 24, 2005. Both individuals and businesses qualify for this special relief.
  • In the hardest-hit areas — those designated by FEMA as “individual assistance areas” — the tax relief will be automatic, and taxpayers won’t need to do anything to get the extensions and other relief available.
  • In areas where FEMA has determined damage is more isolated — designated as “public assistance areas” — or for other taxpayers outside the impacted area, people will need to identify themselves as hurricane victims when filing with the IRS.
  • In the hardest-hit areas — those designated by FEMA as “individual assistance areas” — the tax relief will be automatic, and taxpayers won’t need to do anything to get the extensions and other relief available. In areas where FEMA has determined damage is more isolated — designated as “public assistance areas” — or for other taxpayers outside the impacted area, people will need to identify themselves as hurricane victims when filing with the IRS.
  • To get a copy of any past tax reports or papers from the IRS, call 1-866-562-5227 from Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm local time, or send in a Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, with “Hurricane Katrina” written in red in the top margin of the form.
  • By calling the above number, you can also request Disaster Tax Loss Kits to help you understand your tax situation and what you can do.
  • To determine which level of federal and tax benefit you get, and what you need to do, see IRS Updates Hurricane Katrina Tax Relief Guidelines for Taxpayers in Four States, Relief Workers and Others Impacted and the list of states and counties affected.
  • Tax relief assistance payments are usually not taxable. People in a Presidentially-declared disaster area who receive grants from state programs, charitable organizations or employers to cover medical, transportation or temporary housing expenses do not include these grants in their income.
  • If your home, property, business, or rental property was damaged by the hurricane, you may be able to deduct some of your loss. Only losses not covered by insurance or other reimbursements are eligible. See Tax Topic 515 for more information about losses and theft.
  • If you are awaiting a tax refund, being audited, or awaiting any other information from the IRS, and they are unable to contact you because you have relocated, call the IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227 or refund hotline at 1-800-829-1954. The IRS will ask for authentication by providing information from your last tax return, including name, address, taxpayer identification number and filing status, and a current mailing address and phone number.

Here are more forms, news, and information to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.


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  1. [...] Blogs were invaluable to many during Hurricane Katrina. They not only helped report what was happening on the ground, but also provided helpful ways for people to find their missing family members scattered by the storm. Many blogs provided information to help Hurricane Katrina survivors, and I even put together a list of IRS Tax Relief and Help for Victims of Hurricane Katrina informational packet, since it was information that I had to research for myself, too. [...]

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