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How You Can Benefit from the IRS's Harvey Tax Relief Program

     

SUMMARY:Victims of Hurricane Harvey may qualify for federal tax relief efforts, including payment and filing extensions.

Hurricane Harvey left a wake of devastation in Texas this year. For those affected, the IRS has developed a program to extend deadlines and provide benefits to victims of the storm. Texans who have been affected have until January 31, 2018, to file individual and business tax returns and make tax payments.

Counties Eligible for Tax Relief

At this moment, the IRS has stated that victims in the following counties are eligible for this extension and other special tax relief:

• Aransas • Goliad • Nueces
• Bee • Harris • Refugio
• Brazoria • Jackson • San Patricio
• Calhoun Chambers • Kleberg • Victoria
• Fort Bend • Liberty • Wharton
• Galveston • Matagorda  

Locations in other states are being assessed by FEMA and will be added soon. The IRS will also work with those who live outside of the counties and areas listed, but have records that are located within the affected area. If you live outside of the disaster area and qualify for relief, please call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227.

Additionally, victims are able to reclaim their property taxes, penalty free. In many cases, this will lead to immediate tax refunds, which can be used for living expenses or repairs.

Tax Relief for Businesses

The Texas Comptroller’s office has also issued a statement stating that, “The Comptroller’s office is allowing limited temporary extensions of time to file taxes for businesses in Texas counties designated for individual assistance by the Federal Major Disaster Declaration. These extensions only apply to businesses in those counties.” Additionally, victims are able to reclaim their property taxes, penalty free. In many cases, this will lead to immediate tax refunds, which can be used for living expenses or repairs.

Keep Track of Repair and Cleanup Costs

If you were affected by the storm, make certain you are keeping track of the damage and expenses you incur. Make sure you are able to document the following:

• The type of damage and when it occurred

• That the amount of loss you claimed was directly caused by the event

• That you are/were the owner of the damaged property, or if you are in a lease, that you are contractually liable to the owner for any damage.

Track your expenses by keeping receipts and sales slips in an organized place and try to store them chronologically. Don’t forget to take photos of the damage. If you have photos of the property prior to the damage, this can also help evaluate the value of your property.

More Tax Relief Information

If you have any questions, or if you qualify for these tax benefits, please contact the IRS. They have also compiled a helpful list of FAQ’s to better answer your questions and specific concerns.

Sources and other helpful articles:

www.irs.org

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/disaster-relief-from-the-irs-1.aspx

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2017/08/28/irs-announces-tax-relief-for-taxpayers-affected-by-hurricane-harvey/#5391505b42fe

https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4332/

 

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