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taxpayer disaster relief

Taxpayer Relief When Disaster Strikes

September 20, 2021

Hurricane Ida left a path of destruction that stretched from the Gulf Coast up to the New England area. Although residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and other affected areas are left to clean up after the storm, they can relax knowing that the IRS offers taxpayer relief when disaster strikes.

Who is Eligible for Disaster Tax Relief?

Before the IRS can provide any taxpayer relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must issue a disaster declaration for the area. Generally, this happens in areas affected by wildfires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. If a taxpayer’s address of record is within one of the areas that qualify for disaster relief, they will automatically receive extra time to file their tax returns and pay their taxes. They may also be eligible for additional tax-related assistance.

Per the IRS, taxpayers in a designated disaster area may be eligible for the following assistance:

Casualty Loss Tax Deduction

Taxpayers 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.

Disaster Loan or Grant Application

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers financial help to business owners, homeowners, and renters. To qualify, taxpayers must be up-to-date on all required tax return filings.

Tax Return Transcript Request

Taxpayers who need a tax transcript to support their disaster claims can obtain free transcripts by using Get Transcript to access their transcripts immediately online or to request mail delivery. They can also call 800-908-9946 to request mail delivery or submit Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

Those who need a copy of their tax return should file Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. The IRS will waive the usual fees and expedite the requests for taxpayers who need them to apply for disaster-related benefits or to file amended returns claiming disaster-related losses. When filing Forms 4506-T or 4506, taxpayers should include their state, type of event (such as “Hurricane Ida”), and make it clear that the request is disaster-related, as this will help speed up the process.

Don’t Forget to Submit an Address Change

Taxpayers who need to relocate after a disaster should notify the IRS of their new address by submitting Form 8822, Change of Address.

Learn More at IRS.gov

To determine what tax-related relief is currently available for those impacted by disasters, please visit the IRS Tax Relief in Disaster Situations page. There you will information on extended filing deadlines and other tax relief for those impacted by the California wildfires, as well as many recent hurricanes. You can also view all available federal disaster relief for your area by visiting https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.