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Some storm victims get tax extension

Taxpayers in West Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have until May 11 to file federal returns.

By Kay Bell Apr 6, 2010 9:42AM

The federal tax filing deadline is less than two weeks away, but some taxpayers who have other things on their minds, such as coping with recent storm damage, are getting a bit of a break from the IRS.


The tax agency has decided to give some victims of March's severe storms and flooding in West Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts more time to get their taxes done.


The IRS made the decision after Obama last week declared major disasters in portions of those three states. Now taxpayers who live or have businesses in certain storm-ravage counties in West Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have until May 11 to file their federal returns.

Other types of tax relief, such as contributing to individual retirement accounts, also have been granted to affected filers in those states. And the IRS will waive failure to deposit penalties for employment and excise deposits due on or after March 12 and on or before March 29, as long as businesses made the deposits by March 29.


The IRS says its computer systems will automatically identify taxpayers located in the covered disaster areas and apply automatic filing and payment relief.


If, however, you do get a penalty notice, 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.


Other storms, no tax relief: And yes, the prez also last week declared major disasters for winter storm damage in Delaware and New Hampshire, but the IRS has not issued any filing or tax relief changes (yet) for those states.


FEMA maintains a special disaster declarations Web page where you can track that agency's relief efforts.


IRS rulings on special tax treatment for each state and D.C. can be found at its Around the Nation Web page.


Claiming disaster losses: ln addition to the IRS' special filing relief, remember that if you suffer casualty losses, you might be able to claim them on your tax return. In presidentially declared disasters, you also can choose to file an amended return for the previous tax year.


That refiling option might be able to get you a more tax money back or get it to you sooner so you can have the cash to start making repairs.


Usually disaster claims are made by taxpayers who itemize. This year, though, folks who claim the standard deduction can add qualifying loss claims to that deduction amount. In this case, you'll need to file Schedule L.


And regardless of whether you itemize or take the standard deduction, you'll need to fill out Form 4684.


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