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IRS Updates for those affected by Hurricanes

by: Claudine Gindel   2017-09-08

Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Texas. Now, Hurricane Irma is threatening Florida. The IRS is offering assistance to those in the affected areas.

The IRS is reminding people that the agency is there to help, including offering a special toll-free number to taxpayers in federally-declared disaster areas that’s staffed with IRS specialists trained to handle disaster-related issues. In the case of a federally-declared disaster, an affected taxpayer can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

 

Back copies of previously-filed tax returns and all attachments, including Forms W-2, can be requested by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Alternatively, transcripts showing most line items on these returns can be ordered through the Get Transcript link on IRS.gov, by calling 800-908-9946 or by using Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

 

The IRS offers these tips:

Create Electronic Copies of Key Documents

Keep a duplicate set of key documents, including bank statements, tax returns, identifications and insurance policies in a safe place. Store them in a waterproof container and away from the original set.

 

Doing so is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original documents are only provided on paper, these can be scanned into an electronic format. This way, they can be downloaded onto a storage device such as an external hard drive or USB flash drive or burned onto a CD or DVD.

 

Document Valuables

It’s a good idea to photograph or videotape the contents of your home, especially items of higher value. Documenting these items ahead of time will make it easier to quickly claim any available insurance and tax benefits after the disaster strikes. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings.

 

Photographs can help an individual prove the fair market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Ideally, photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.

 

Check on Fiduciary Bonds

Employers who use payroll service providers should ask the provider if it has a fiduciary bond in place. The bond could protect the employer in the event of default by the payroll service provider.

 

For everyone in the affected areas - be safe. As Governor Rick Scott of Florida said, "Possessions can be replaced, your family cannot".    

 

Relief for Victims of Hurricane Irma

  • IRS is providing a variety of tax relief for those affected by Hurricane Irma. For the latest updates, check the Hurricane Irma page.

 

Relief for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

  • IRS is providing a variety of tax relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Check the Hurricane Harvey page for the latest updates.

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