Disaster Feed

UPDATED, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021: Major disasters keep happening, like category 4 Hurricane Ida that made landfall Aug. 29, 2021, in Louisiana, but the possible recovery help remains in place. Take advantage of the federal government and other resources to help you get your life back on track. The U.S. and British Virgin Islands took a whacking today from Hurricane Dorian, which struck the Caribbean islands as a category 1. Puerto Rico, still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, was spared major damage as Dorian decided to take a more northward turn. Dorian is expected to shift... Read more →


Billowing smoke from the wildfire ravaging norther New Mexico. (Screen shot of video posted on The Weather Channel, provided by Jackson Mathey via Storyful) The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have merged and been burning a large swath of northern New Mexico for weeks now has been designated as the largest in the state's history. The combined blazes, driven by straight-line winds, have engulfed nearly 300,000 acres, or around 469 square miles, of the Land of Enchantment as of this morning. Only around a quarter of the fire area has been contained, according to InciWeb, a U.S. government... Read more →


Taxes don't typically prompt celebrations like that of these school children welcoming May with a traditional Maypole dance. But thinking about tax moves this month can help you avoid costly faux pas. (Photo by Paul Barnett via Wikimedia Commons) May is supposed to be the month full of flowers from the previous month's showers. Unfortunately, this year the month is starting off on a decidedly unmerry note. In the wake of the devastating Kansas tornadoes, forecasters are warning of multiple rounds this week of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, across the Plains, Midwest, and South. That's why heeding weather warnings and... Read more →


Tax Day arrives even later for some major disaster area victims. Most U.S. taxpayers are chilling today. They either filed their annual tax return on Monday, April 18, the slight delay created by Emancipation Day 2022 falling on the usual April 15 Internal Revenue Service deadline. Or they sent the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get an extra six months to file. But some tax procrastinating residents of Maine and Massachusetts are working on their federal (and state) returns today. That's because Monday was Patriots Day, a statewide holiday in those two New England states. The IRS pushed Tax... Read more →


Screenshot of YouTube News Disaster video of Puerto Rico flooding Tax Day 2022 has been moved to May 16 and June 15, but just for some taxpayers. And no, this is not a late April Fools Day joke. The postponement is for reasons none of us would want. It's for folks who were struck by major natural disasters. The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it has granted special tax relief to Puerto Rico residents of who in February were struck by severe storms, flooding, and landslides. They now have until June 15 to file various individual and business... Read more →


Image: BoulderCounty.org It looks like New Tax Year 2022 is going to be like 2021 in at least one regard. The usual April Tax Day is postponed for some filers. The reason also is the same as last year. Late-year major natural disasters. The devastating, but thankfully not deadly (although two people are still missing), end-of-2021 wildfires in Colorado have joined this unwanted list. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Boulder Country residents whose homes and/or businesses were in the path of this past weekend's wildfires will have until May 16 to file various returns and make tax payments.... Read more →


I hope your 2022 welcoming plans are on track this New Year's Eve eve. But as the time tick tocks away, some folks need to think a few days further into the fast-approaching New Year. Specifically, their focus should be on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. That's the day that some California residents whose lives and/or businesses were impacted by wildfires need to file certain 2020 returns. The first workday of the New Year also is the deadline for employers and self-employed individuals who deferred paying part of their 2020 Social Security taxes. California disaster delay: Mother Nature was not kind... Read more →


The fallout from the deadly Dec. 10-11 tornado outbreak across the South and Midwest continues as 2021 comes to a close. So does federal relief, including from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS today announced that affected Arkansas individual and business taxpayers in five counties now have until May 16, 2022, to file returns and make payments for various tax situations. But they are not alone. The IRS also announced today that residents and business owners in two Alabama counties get similar tax relief and a new Feb. 28, 2022, deadline. The Alabama tax move is in connection with severe... Read more →


The deadly and destructive effects of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that was the second-most damaging and intense ever to make landfall in Louisiana, weren't limited to the Pelican State. Ida's remnants also caused widespread tornadic destruction and catastrophic flooding across the northeastern United States. You can see Ida's complete path and intensity levels at Fleur DeOdile's WikiProject tropical cyclones tracker. Apparently, the Internal Revenue Service also is feeling the Christmas/New Year crunch. The tax agency is giving taxpayers (and its staff) some end-of-year breathing room by further extending some Hurricane Ida tax deadlines beyond early 2022. Victims of... Read more →


Tornado damage caused Dec. 10-11 to an Amazon warehouse building and high-tension power lines between Pontoon Beach and Edwardsville, Illinois. (National Weather Service-St. Louis/Wikipedia Commons photo) While most of us are rushing this week to complete Christmas plan, some are trying to salvage what, if anything, they still have after a deadly line of tornadoes struck earlier this month. As part of this recovery process, the Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief for residents in parts of Tennessee and Illinois. This includes a new deadline of May 16, 2022, for filing 2021 federal tax returns. Specific counties designated: The... Read more →


An aerial view of Mayfield, Kentucky, one of the hardest hit communities during the Dec. 10-11 tornado outbreak in the western half of the state, shows the devastation of the community. (Photo by State Farm via Flickr CC 2.0 and Wikimedia) Kentucky residents who were in the path of last weekend's deadly tornadoes have a later 2022 federal tax filing deadline. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Kentucky taxpayers in, so far, eight counties will have until May 16, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. UPDATE, Dec. 16, 2021: The Kentucky Department... Read more →


If you use the standard deduction, this tax break can help cut your tax bill, but only if you make your donations by Dec. 31. And if charitable organizations get their wish, the tax break will be extended past 2021, and worth as much as $4,000 ($8,000 for couples). During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans needed help than ever before to pay bills, feed their families, and generally just try to retain their pre-pandemic lives. To do that, many turned to nonprofits for help. Unfortunately, charitable organizations found themselves in similar straits. "2020 should have been... Read more →


Some of the damage from tornadoes that hit Western Kentucky the night of Dec. 10-11, right after it happened. (Photo: Kentucky Emergency Management) 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. Kentucky Division of Emergency... Read more →


A close-up of some of our Christmas tree ornaments, including the newest one showcasing Austin icon El Arroyo's sign wisdom. (Photo by Kay Bell) Ho, Ho, Ho! The jolly month of December is here, bringing the official start of winter, Christmas and other holidays, and taxes. Yeah, that last December item might harsh your holidays. But the tax moves you make over the next 31 days could make your 2021 and 2022 tax situations happy and bright. Here's a look at 6 December tax moves you at least want to consider. 1. Keep an eye on Congress. Yeah, too often... Read more →


Click image to see loop from KLIX of Hurricane Ida's landfall. Today is not only the last day of November, it is the official end of this year's Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. Although I no longer live very near a coastline, tropical systems do a whole lot of damage beyond their landfalls. We've endured the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (what is it with H storms and Austin?) that hit the Texas coast. This year the Lone Star state escaped Hurricane Ida. She stayed east of us and definitely did a lot... Read more →


Image courtesy IRS It's Thanksgiving week! Nov. 25 is circled in green for go by families across the United States. They finally will see their COVID vaccinated families and friends in person for the first time in almost two years. But folks in parts of California and all of Mississippi need to mark another calendar date a bit farther down the road. Jan. 3, 2022, is the new 2020 tax year deadline for them. UPDATE, Dec. 22, 2021: Victims of Hurricane Ida in six states — including Mississippi — who were looking at Jan. 3, 2022, deadlines now have until... Read more →


Hurricane Ida remnants arrive in the northeast United States in early September 2021. (Satellite image via National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Hurricane Center) The effects of Hurricane Ida just keep coming. Connecticut is the latest state where areas have been declared major presidential disasters. That makes them eligible for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It also means the Internal Revenue Service is offering corresponding tax relief. Certain Connecticut individual and business taxpayers now have until Jan. 3, 2022, to file various tax returns and make tax payments. The disaster and tax relief are for those who encountered... Read more →


Shutterstock There's one terrifying ghoul who hangs around long after Halloween. In fact, he and his ilk have been busy all year. It's the tax scammer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just this week warned that scammers are sending yet another phony Internal Revenue Service email about COVID-19 relief payments. "There's a fake IRS email that keeps popping into people's inboxes. It says that you can get a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if you click a link that lets you 'access the form for your additional information' and 'get help' with the application," says Cristina Miranda of the FTC's... Read more →


No, you're not time traveling. Tax Day is coming up quickly — like Monday, Nov. 1, quick — for some taxpayers. Halloween is almost here, but some folks need to take a break from their spooky costume and party plans and double check their tax situations. Monday, Nov. 1, is a tax deadline they can't afford to miss. Opting out of early Child Tax Credit payments: Most families who've received the Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments are thrilled. It's meant a much-needed $300 per child for kiddos younger than 6 or $250 per child for youngsters ages 6 to... Read more →


Hurricane Ida just won't let go. The major storm made landfall on Aug. 29 near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. But the havoc wreaked by the category 4 hurricane extended well beyond that Gulf Coast town. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared a swath of counties slammed by Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania as major disaster areas. The Internal Revenue Service followed up by offering tax relief to individuals and businesses in those designated areas. Now, almost two months after the hurricane hit, both agencies are still in the Ida relief business. Expanded disaster, and tax,... Read more →


This has been a wonderful weather week here in the Austin area. Nights have been cool. Days have topped out in the seasonal upper 70s. But today is a tad warmer, a trend expected to continue through October. So it's goodbye to our brief autumn in Central Texas, and back to closing windows and cranking up the air conditioner. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Although it was hot this summer, it wasn't the hottest since we moved here 16 years ago. And after February's devastating ice storm, I'm never complaining about warm or warmer than normal or hot... Read more →