W. Va. Residents May Be Eligible for IRS Tax Refunds Following Ivan’s Visit

October 1, 2004

West Virginia residents who suffered losses from Hurricane Ivan storms and flooding may be eligible for tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The 18 counties under President Bush’s disaster declaration of Sept. 20 are: Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Marshall, Mason, Mingo, Morgan, Ohio, Pleasants, Tyler, Wayne, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood.

The IRS has ruled that disaster losses, defined as damage, destruction, or loss of property from a catastrophic event, may be deducted on the federal income tax return for the year in which the casualty occurred or by amending the return for the previous year.

Residents who had losses from the storm may amend their federal income tax returns for the year 2003, filed this year, to reflect all or part of their loss, or they may include the deductions in returns to be filed by April 15, 2005.

Claiming the loss on an original or amended return for last year will get the taxpayer an earlier refund. But waiting to claim the loss in this year’s return could result in a greater tax saving, depending on other income factors.

Deductible items include homes and personal property, such as furnishings, appliances, vehicles and clothing. Amending this year’s return to claim casualty losses may provide additional money for home repairs or replacing damaged goods.

Further information is available from the IRS general information toll-free number 1-800-829-1040. For information specific to the West Virginia disaster, click on the “Disaster Area Tax Relief” link on the IRS’ home page, www.irs.ustreas.gov, and then on West Virginia under “Relief Granted Recently”.

To learn more about claiming disaster losses, ask the IRS for its Disaster Losses Kit for Individuals (Publication 2194). The kit contains all the IRS forms and instructions necessary to file a disaster loss claim. Business owners should ask for Publication 2194-B, which has specific instructions for businesses.

For a copy of the disaster kit or any other IRS form, call 1-800-829-3676, or visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. Forms and publications also are available at local IRS tax assistance centers.

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