Alabama residents affected by Hurricane Ivan may be eligible for tax relief that could help reduce some of their financial losses, federal and state disaster recovery officials said Tuesday.
“At this time of the year, with the tax filing season coming up, we want to remind people who experienced property losses from the hurricane that this assistance may be available,” said Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) Director and State Coordinating Officer Bruce Baughman.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits individuals who have experienced casualty losses as a result of the disaster to claim losses that occurred during the current tax year (2004) on last year’s form (2003) by amending their return if it is beneficial for the taxpayer to do so. Only taxpayers living in one of the 65 federally designated disaster counties in Alabama are eligible for the tax relief program.
Casualty losses are based on a decrease or loss of value involving real property or personal-use property as a result of the disaster, minus insurance payments or other reimbursements. The IRS will ask for documentation in the form of appraisals, repair costs, before and after photographs to establish the dollar value of the loss. A formula is then used to figure the amount that can be deducted against taxable income.
IRS Publication 547 contains a section that gives a detailed explanation of disaster loss as it relates to tax liability. The publication may be found online at www.irs.gov, or may be requested directly from the IRS general information line by calling 1-800-829-1040. In addition, the IRS may also extend other forms of tax relief to residents and businesses, such as extending filing date or waiving fees.
Assistance with state income tax relief for Hurricane Ivan victims may be found at the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADOR) Web site, www.ador.state.al.us, or by calling ADOR at 1-800-322-4106.
Disaster officials also advise residents to check with their local county auditor about the possibility of claiming a reduction in the taxable value of property damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ivan.
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