Free tax ad­vi­sor y ser­vice for nat­u­ral dis­as­ter vic­tims

South Florida Times - - METRO - Cour­tesy of H&R Block

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To help res­i­dents re­cover fi­nan­cially from re­cent nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, H&R Block and Block Ad­vi­sors will be of­fer­ing a new, na­tion­wide free tax ad­vi­sory ser­vice to help vic­tims nav­i­gate ex­ten­sive tax re­lief op­tions.

Tax­pay­ers im­pacted by dis­as­ters, in­clud­ing those in Cal­i­for­nia, Florida, Geor­gia, Louisiana, Mis­sis­sippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands, may be el­i­gi­ble for tax re­lief in­clud­ing ac­cel­er­ated ca­su­alty loss de­duc­tions, post­poned dead­lines and waived fees for tax tran­scripts or copies of tax re­turns from the IRS.

“We’re launch­ing a free, com­pre­hen­sive dis­as­ter and ca­su­alty loss tax ad­vi­sory ser­vice so that tax­pay­ers know all their taxbased fi­nan­cial op­tions for re­cov­ery,” said Kathy Pick­er­ing, vice pres­i­dent of reg­u­la­tory af­fairs and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Tax In­sti­tute at H&R Block.“Tax re­lief could even mean get­ting a tax re­fund be­fore even fil­ing a 2017 tax re­turn, so the fi­nan­cial im­pact could be swift and sig­nif­i­cant.”

Im­pacted tax­pay­ers can sched­ule a dis­as­ter and ca­su­alty loss tax ad­vi­sory ser­vice ap­point­ment to re­view their spe­cific cir­cum­stances, eval­u­ate their tax re­lief op­tions, re­ceive tools to help them doc­u­ment dam­age for in­sur­ance claims or ca­su­alty loss de­duc­tions, be­gin re­con­struct­ing their tax his­tory and more. The ser­vice is avail­able for in­di­vid­ual tax­pay­ers.

To sched­ule a free ad­vi­sory ap­point­ment, tax­pay­ers should call 1-800-HRBLOCK. All H&R Block clients can ac­cess their past re­turns in their MyBlock ac­count.


Tax­pay­ers may find some fi­nan­cial re­lief for their re­cov­ery costs for dam­aged or lost prop­erty by claiming their un­re­im­bursed losses as ca­su­alty losses. This can in­clude loss in value re­lated to any dis­as­ter-re­lated claims greater than their in­sur­ance set­tle­ment or ex­pected re­cov­ery, whether or not the govern­ment de­clared a na­tional dis­as­ter.

Tax­pay­ers in a fed­eral des­ig­nated dis­as­ter area who in­cur dis­as­ter-re­lated ca­su­alty losses have a choice about when to claim their losses. A dis­as­ter-re­lated ca­su­alty loss may ei­ther be claimed on a tax re­turn for the year the dis­as­ter oc­curred or on the prior year’s orig­i­nal or amended re­turn.

For ex­am­ple, a loss oc­cur­ring in 2017 may be claimed on the tax­payer’s 2017 tax re­turn filed in 2018, or on an orig­i­nal or amended 2016 re­turn filed in 2017.While claiming the loss on the 2016 re­turn re­sults in a faster tax re­fund, wait­ing to claim the loss on the 2017 re­turn may re­sult in greater tax sav­ings. There­fore, it is best that tax fil­ers run both sce­nar­ios be­fore de­cid­ing what to do.


The IRS has granted late-fil­ing re­lief to af­fected tax­pay­ers. In­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses in the af­fected dis­as­ter ar­eas have un­til Jan­uary 31, 2018 to file their Oc­to­ber 16 ex­tended tax re­turns. Other dead­lines oc­cur­ring af­ter the dis­as­ter that may be post­poned in­clude es­ti­mated tax pay­ments due on Septem­ber 15, 2017 and Jan­uary 16, 2018 and quar­terly pay­roll tax re­turns due on Oc­to­ber 31. Af­fected tax­pay­ers will not be sub­ject to penal­ties for fail­ure to pay es­ti­mated tax if pay­ments are made by Jan­uary 31, 2018.

Gen­er­ally, the IRS iden­ti­fies af­fected tax­pay­ers lo­cated in the dis­as­ter area and au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plies fil­ing and pay­ment re­lief. How­ever,a tax­payer could live out­side the dis­as­ter area and be el­i­gi­ble for re­lief and would need to call the IRS at 1-866-562-5227 to re­quest tax re­lief.


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