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Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses

Overview

Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Both individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.

The IRS also offers audio presentations on Planning for Disaster. These presentations discuss business continuity planning, insurance coverage, recording keeping and other tips to stay in business after a major disaster.

Get the Latest Tax Relief Guidance in Disaster Situations
Recent special tax law provisions may help taxpayers recover financially from the impact of a major disaster in their location.

Preparing for Disasters
Are your home and/or business ready if a disaster strikes? Get information and suggestions on paperless recordkeeping, documenting assets and valuables, and emergency planning.

Help for Disaster Victims
This podcast provides information on what to do and who to contact if you have been affected by a disaster this year.

Help During Disasters
We know that major disasters and emergencies in your area will affect many families and businesses. While we hope you are spared any loss, we realize this may not be true for everyone, and we want to let you know how the IRS can help.

Around the Nation
This section of our Web site provides IRS news specific to local areas, primarily disaster relief or tax provisions that affect certain states.

Tax Topic 515 - Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Losses
Casualty losses can result from the destruction of or damage to your property from any sudden, unexpected, and unusual event such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, fire, earthquake or even volcanic eruption.

Disaster Assistance Self-Study
The Disaster Assistance Self-Study provides the basic information needed to assist taxpayers in a disaster. It provides the volunteer practitioner disaster representative member with information on distributing Disaster Kits, computing gains/losses as the result of a disaster, information about administrative tax relief and information about the psychological effects of a disaster on its victims.

For Individuals

FAQs for Disaster Victims
This section provides current information on disaster relief and frequently asked questions. The Hurricane Katrina FAQs are now listed separately from the general FAQs, which are applicable to any disaster.

Gulf Oil Spill: Questions and Answers
The existing law dictates whether payments received from BP for losses, damage and injuries are taxable. Refer to the Gulf Oil Spill technical questions and answers for more information.

Reconstructing Your Records
Reconstructing records after a disaster may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance or insurance reimbursement. Records that you need to prove your loss may have been damaged or destroyed in a casualty. While it may not be easy, reconstructing your records may be essential.

Publication 2194, Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses (PDF)
Publication 2194 is a Disaster Losses Kit to help individuals claim casualty losses on property that was destroyed by a natural disaster. The kit contains tax forms needed to claim a casualty loss. It also answers common questions like how to extend the time you need to file, how you can receive free tax services and how to identify which disaster losses to claim.

Help for Hurricane Victims: Information on Tax Relief, Charitable Issues
The Internal Revenue Service is working to provide appropriate relief and assistance to victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

For Businesses

Publication 2194, Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses (PDF)
Publication 2194 is a Disaster Losses Kit to help businesses claim casualty losses on property that has been destroyed by a natural disaster. The kit contains tax forms needed to claim a casualty loss.

Crop Insurance and Crop Disaster Payments - Agriculture Tax Tips
This section offers helpful tax tips including whether crop insurance and crop disaster payments are taxable.

Disaster Planning Video Presentations:

For Tax Professionals

Disaster Relief Resource Center for Tax Professionals
Through this resource center we address many of the questions received from tax professionals. We've included information published by the IRS, along with links to IRS partners who may offer additional assistance. Many of our partners have developed Web pages that highlight the efforts they've made to help their fellow practitioners to recover and get re-established.

For Charitable Organizations

Disaster Relief - Resources for Charities and Contributors
After a disaster or in another emergency hardship situation, people may be interested in using a charitable organization to help victims. The IRS provides a number of resources to help them accomplish this goal.

Publication 3833, Disaster Relief, Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations (PDF)
This publication describes how members of the public can use charitable organizations to provide assistance to victims of disasters or other emergency hardship situations.

Talk With the IRS

Contact My Local Office
IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers are your one-stop resource for face-to-face tax help and solutions to tax problems, every business day.

Taxpayer Advocate Service
The Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS. They help taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS and recommend changes that will prevent the problems.

Other Government Agency Disaster Information

DisasterAssistance.gov
This is a one stop web portal that consolidates information from 17 US Government Agencies where taxpayers can apply for Small Business Administration loans through online applications, receive referral information on forms of assistance that do not have online applications, or check the progress and status of their applications online.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Federal disaster aid programs provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are available to citizens affected by major disasters.

Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is responsible for providing affordable, timely and accessible financial assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes located in a declared disaster area. Financial assistance is available in the form of low-interest, long-term loans for losses that are not fully covered by insurance or other recoveries.

READY.gov
Learn how individuals and business can prepare for and respond to all kinds of disasters and emergencies.

GovBenefits.gov
GovBenefits.gov wants to let survivors and disaster relief workers know about the many disaster relief programs available. Perhaps you have suffered damage to a home or business, lost your job, or experienced crop damage due to a natural disaster. GovBenefits.gov has a variety of national benefit and assistance programs geared toward disaster recovery

IRS Forms and Publications

Publication 547 – Casualties, Disasters and Thefts
Publication 547 explains how to treat casualties, thefts, and losses on deposits. It discusses definitions, how to figure gain or loss, how to treat reimbursements, and how to report them.

Form 1040X (PDF).

Publication 584 (PDF). Also available in HTML.

Publication 584B (PDF). Also available in HTML.

Publication 2194 (PDF).

Publication 3067 (EN/SP) (PDF).

Publication 3067 (EN/CN) (PDF)

Publication 3067 (EN/DE) (PDF)

Publication 3067 (EN/KR) (PDF)

Publication 3067 (EN/RU) (PDF)

Publication 3067 (EN/VN) (PDF)

Publication 3833 (PDF)


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 26-Sep-2014