There never is a good time for a disaster to strike, but deadly tornadoes during the December holiday season is especially difficult.
My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and property when a supercell system moved through six southeastern states and into the Midwest late Friday, Dec. 10, and early Saturday, Dec. 11. Western Kentucky was hit the hardest, with at least 70 people believed killed in the storms.
President Joe Biden immediately declared areas of the Bluegrass State as major disasters. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are there. The Internal Revenue Service should be issuing tax relief notices soon.
UPDATE, Dec. 14, 2014: The IRS today announced tax relief for affected areas of Kentucky. The key item is a new 2022 Tax Day of May 16. You can read more in this post.
But it's going to take more than Uncle Sam's agencies to get these folks back on their feet. Any help that any of us can offer is, as in all catastrophes, welcomed.
So this weekend's heartbreaking Sunday Shout Outs go to the groups that are lending the much-needed hands right now. If you want to help out financially, that will make their on-site jobs easier.
Help from the regulars: The usual donation options apply. You can give to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, both of which have set up funds for this latest disaster.
To make a $10 gift via your mobile device, simply text REDCROSS to 90999. Other donations can be made by calling (800) 733-2767 or by visiting its website.
If you want to give via the Salvation Army, your tornado-specific gifts can be made at that organization's website.
Even if you aren't in the affected areas, consider donating blood to your local blood bank. Whenever disaster hits, the need for this medical treatment is crucial.
More local organizations: In addition, this Sunday Shout Out goes to the following stories that have more information on more-local ways to help.
How to help Western Kentucky after devastating tornadoes from CBS affiliate WKYT in Lexington
Here's how you can help Kentucky's tornado victims from CBS affiliate WLKY in Louisville
How to help victims impacted by the tornadoes in western Kentucky from FOX affiliate WDRB in Louisville
Want to help Kentucky tornado & storm victims? Here's how from the Lexington Herald-Leader
How to help after deadly Bowling Green tornado from ABC affiliate WBKO in Bowling Green
And some local resources from some non-Kentucky outlets —
Here's how to help tornado victims from The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
How to Help Victims of Deadly Tornado Outbreak from Weather.com
How to help tornado victims in Kentucky, other states from ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas
Ways to give and help survivors of the tornadoes in Kentucky, Illinois and elsewhere from The Washington Post
Tax considerations: Of course, no one, either residents of the tornado-ravaged areas or those wanting to help, is thinking of taxes right now.
But since this is a tax blog, here are a few links to my prior blog posts on these topics:
- Disaster help now, donation tax deduction later
- Tracking down tax records to file a disaster claim
- Considerations in making a major disaster tax claim
- IRS and other government resources can help you deal with a natural disaster
- 5 ways to determine whether a charity is naughty or nice
- Hurricane season officially ends today, but stay prepared for year-round disasters
- More disasters mean more catastrophe-related scams, including charitable tax donation deduction ploys
UPDATE, Dec. 13, 2021: The IRS and nonprofit groups remind taxpayers that if they make qualifying cash donations to charities, either Kentucky tornado specific or others, by Dec. 31, they might qualify for a tax deduction of up to $300 ($600 for married filing jointly couples) that doesn't required itemizing.
There also are the ol' blog's special Storm Warnings section. This multi-page collection of blog posts has tips on preparing for, recovering from, and helping those dealing with natural disasters.
Wherever you are, be as prepared as you can, stay safe, and help those not as fortunate as much as you can.