No place in the world is disaster proof. Mother Nature unleashes her horrors globally and year round via hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires, floods, blizzards and more.
This special Natural Disasters Recovery Page, part of the overall Storm Warnings collection of Don't Mess With Taxes blog posts about disasters and the associated tax implications, provides information on what you can do and where you can get help to recover as quickly as possible when Mother Nature turns into Mommy Dearest.
So, since time is of the essence when you're trying to get your life back after a natural disaster, here goes with ways to recover from the various natural disasters that many of us will face at some point in our lives.
The Internal Revenue Service isn't at the top of anyone's list, especially when they're trying to deal with a major disaster.
But in such dire situations, you should think about the tax agency. When you sustain any damage from a storm, remember that you might be able to get some disaster relief from the IRS.
You'll have to itemize your deductions and in addition to the Schedule A, there's more paperwork deal with, specifically Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts.
And the amount of your damages isn't the amount you can claim. You'll have to work through a worksheet to determine how much your loss you can claim.
But when you've suffered serious damages, any amount is welcome.
There's also a possibility that you could get special tax treatment if your damages were caused by a major disaster. W(March 4, 2019)hen this designation is issue by the president via the Federal Emergency Management Agency, you get a choice as to when to make your tax claims.
You can opt to claim your disaster losses on your current year's tax return, the year in which the disaster occurred.
Or you can file and amended return from your previous year's taxes. This which might get you more money, and sooner, from the IRS.
The tax date choice is yours. Always run the numbers to see which tax year filing will get you the most tax money.
Don't forget about your state taxes. In many disaster instances, states also offer special tax and other relief. You state's tax departments can provide the relevant disaster information.
These Don't Mess With Taxes posts, the dates published noted in parentheses, have more details:
- Tax relief for disaster victims (May 12, 2008)
- No escaping disasters, but tax help possible (Aug. 23, 2011)
- Special tax treatment for major disaster victims (May 29, 2013)
- Disaster victims should seek tax recovery help after the skies clear (April 28, 2014)
- Form 4684, a disaster victim's best friend (Aug. 28, 2011)
- When the storm's over, don't forget to claim possible tax help for your losses (Aug. 28, 2012)
- Terrible tax timing for tornado victims in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma (April 18, 2012)
- Help from the IRS for tornado victims (March 8, 2012)
- Indiana tornado victims get federal disaster declaration, help from the IRS (March 13, 2012)
- Tornado-ravaged areas of Oklahoma declared major disasters, leading to special tax relief from IRS (May 21, 2013)
- Moore, Oklahoma, still recovering from horrific 2013 tornado; other areas receive tax relief for 2014's severe storms (May 20, 2014)
- Helping Oklahoma tornado survivors, planning for the next natural disaster (May 21, 2013)
- Extended tax filing deadlines for certain Colorado, Washington State and Massachusetts taxpayers (April 15, 2014)
- N.Y., N.J. residents in Superstorm Sandy's path get additional tax relief (Feb. 21, 2013)
- Hurricane season costs tax collectors as well as homeowners (Aug. 23, 2011)
- Winter Storm Athena damages could mean additional relief from the IRS (Nov. 9, 2012)
- Drought-stricken farmers, ranchers can postpone tax on some livestock sale gains (Sept. 29, 2012)
- Tax relief for Hurricane Isaac victims in Louisiana and Mississippi (Sept. 15, 2012)
- Vermont to provide property tax relief to Hurricane Irene, flood victims (Nov. 3, 2011)
- Get disaster help from the IRS; Before storms strike, prepare! (June 1, 2011)
- Northern California rocked by major earthquake (Aug. 24, 2014)
- Tax help for fire, ice and other disasters (Nov. 14, 2014)
- Uncle Sam offers tax help for disaster recovery (May 26, 2016)
- Disaster declaration offers Texas storm victims tax relief (Aug. 26, 2016)
- Louisiana flood victims get special tax consideration (Aug. 15, 2016)
- Louisiana flood victims can tap retirement accounts (Aug. 31, 2016)
- Oct. 17 is final filing deadline for most, but is extended further for folks in FL, LA, NC and WVA disaster areas (Oct. 12, 2016)
- IRS grants more tax relief for Hurricane Matthew filers in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina (Oct. 17, 2016)
- IRS offers tax relief to 2016's many disaster victims (Dec. 27, 2016)
- FEMA relief for victims of Golden State's January storms. Expect similar help for California's latest deadly weather (Feb. 18, 2017)
- IRS grants automatic tax filing and payment extensions to taxpayers in major disaster areas (April 14, 2017)
- Tropical storm season 2017 heats up. It's time to get ready physically, fiscally and tax wise (June 19, 2017)
- Catastrophe Savings Accounts (CSAs) offer homeowners in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina tax-advantaged way to pay for storm recovery (June 20, 2017)
- Special tax relief for West Virginia summer storm victims (Aug. 26, 2017)
- IRS grants tax relief to Texans hard hit by Hurricane Harvey (Aug. 29, 2017)
- IRS eases access to workplace retirement plan money for Hurricane Harvey's Texas victims (Aug. 31, 2017)
- Home basis, not market value, key amount in calculating disaster loss tax claim (Aug. 30, 2017)
- Reconstructing tax and other records after a natural disaster (Sept. 6, 2017)
- IRS Irma tax relief echoes that given Harvey victims (Sept. 12, 2017)
- Georgia residents now get Hurricane Irma tax relief (Sept. 19, 2017)
- California, U.S. territory taxpayers get disaster tax relief (Oct. 14, 2017)
- Louisiana, South Carolina now get hurricane tax relief (Oct. 31, 2017)
- Casualty loss tax deduction elimination fires up some California lawmakers (Dec. 8, 2017)
- An active 2018 hurricane season could be complicated by new limits on casualty tax loss claims (April 6, 2018)
- No federal tax help for Volcano Kilauea damage…yet (May 6, 2018)
- With Hawaii's Kilauea volcano declared major disaster, IRS grants residents tax relief (June 20, 2018)
- US territory taxpayers face hurricane-delayed 6/29 deadline (June 28, 2018)
- California wildfire declared major disaster, opening door for financial and possible tax help (Aug. 9, 2018)
- Hawaii's hurricane, California's wildfires get added FEMA & tax attention (Aug. 24, 2018)
- IRS offers tax relief for Hurricane Florence victims (Sept. 15, 2018)
- After Hurricane Michael passes, expect and claim all possible tax relief (Oct. 10, 2018)
- IRS provides tax relief for folks hit by Hurricane Michael (Oct. 12, 2018)
- More folks affected by Hurricanes Florence and Michael get more time to file Oct. 15 tax extensions (Oct. 14, 2018)
- How to claim major disaster tax losses (Oct. 16, 2018)
- California wildfire, Virginia hurricane victims get tax relief (Nov. 20, 2018)
- Disaster victims could get tax relief as part of new tax bill; IRS already offering some easier retirement plan access (Nov. 29, 2018)
- How to get tax help for your natural disaster losses (March 4, 2019)
- Alabama tornado victims' tax deadline now July 31 (March 10, 2019)
- IRS and other government resources can help you deal with a natural disaster (Aug. 28, 2019
- IRS makes hardship workplace retirement plan withdrawals easier for disaster victims (Sept. 21, 2019)
- File major disaster claims on Form 4684 (March 3, 2020)
Looking for more or other disaster info? Check out the the separate Storm Warning pages pages on preparing for a disaster, how to donate to groups that help disaster survivors, general storm stories and information and additional disaster resources.