IRS Announces Tax Relief for Hurricane Harvey Victims

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A flooded watershed in the Houston area. Photo taken by Karl Spencer on Aug. 29.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the IRS is providing much-needed tax relief for individuals and businesses in the affected areas. For those who qualify, the recently announced tax relief:

  • Lengthens like-kind exchange transfer periods
  • Postpones certain filing deadlines
  • Allows taxpayers to claim casualty losses on their federal income tax return
  • Provides penalty relief to certain taxpayers who file late

Congress has yet to respond to the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, but it set a precedent in 2005 when it passed the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. The law included tax relief in the form of expanded tax credits, changes to the low-income housing tax credit program and appropriated money for affected states to use to issue targeted tax-exempt bonds.

Even though the IRS automatically identifies qualifying taxpayers based on location, the taxpayer is still required to call the disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

A full list of qualifying counties within the Hurricane Harvey disaster area, as well as other specific details of the tax relief are found on the IRS website.

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