Publication 553 - Introductory Material

Table of Contents


This publication highlights major tax law changes that take effect in 2008, 2009, and later years, except those covered in Publication 4492-A, Information for Taxpayers Affected by the May 4, 2007, Kansas Storms and Tornadoes; and in Publication 4492-B, Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas. The chapters are divided into sections based on when the changes take effect.

Tax relief for the Kansas disaster area.   Publication 4492-A explains the temporary tax relief provided by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 for taxpayers in Kiowa County, Kansas, and the surrounding areas who were affected by the storms and tornadoes that began on May 4, 2007.

  Special tax relief provisions apply for:
  • Casualty and theft losses,

  • Net operating losses,

  • Replacement period for nonrecognition of gain,

  • IRAs and other retirement plans,

  • Special depreciation allowance,

  • Section 179 expense deduction,

  • Demolition and clean-up costs, and

  • Employee retention credit.

  For more information, see Publication 4492-A.

Tax relief for the Midwestern disaster areas.   Publication 4492-B explains the major provisions of the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 that were provided for taxpayers in Midwestern disaster areas. Midwestern disaster areas are those areas for which a major disaster was declared by the President during the period beginning on May 20, 2008, and ending on July 31, 2008, in the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, as a result of severe storms, tornadoes, or flooding that occurred on the applicable disaster date.

  Some of the special tax relief provisions are:
  • Casualty and theft losses,

  • Charitable giving incentives,

  • Net operating losses,

  • Replacement period for nonrecognition of gain,

  • IRAs and other retirement plans,

  • Education credits,

  • Exclusion of certain cancellations of indebtedness,

  • Demolition and clean-up costs, and

  • Employee retention credit.

  For more information, see Publication 4492-B.

The tax information for 2008 and later years is accurate as of June 30, 2009. Subsequent changes to the tax law may occur. For more information, go to

Adjusting your withholding or estimated tax payments for 2009.   If your tax for 2009 will be more or less than your 2008 tax, you may need to adjust your withholding or estimated tax payments accordingly. If your tax will decrease, you can get the benefit of lower taxes throughout the year. If you will owe more tax, you can avoid a penalty when you file your tax return.

  See the following table for forms and publications that will help you adjust your withholding or estimated tax payments. See chapter 7 for information on ordering forms and publications.
To adjust your... Get Form... And Publication...
Withholding W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?
Estimated tax payments 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax

Photographs of missing children.   The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Business Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

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