Findlay, Ohio -- Ohioans affected by the November 10 tornado outbreak may be eligible for various forms of tax relief that could lessen some losses, federal and state recovery officials said today.
"The U.S. Internal Revenue Service permits those with casualty losses to amend last year's return and claim this year's losses," said Federal Coordinating Officer Ron Sherman of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "The advantage of this is it can result in a quicker refund than is available if the losses are filed on this year's return."
State Coordinating Officer Dale Shipley, director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA), said that the Ohio/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) opened Monday would have information, such as tax forms, on how those affected could pursue tax relief for losses.
"We also are working with IRS to have a representative in the DRCs; and if the representative is there on the day you visit, make sure to talk with him or her. We want all who suffered losses to access the maximum benefits available. This is one of those benefits," Shipley added.
In addition, Shipley said, those affected should check with their local county auditor about the possibility of claiming a reduction in the taxable value of property destroyed or damaged.
"The amount of reduction would be prorated based on the calendar quarter in which the damage occurred." Shipley said. Property owners must file an application with the county auditor for a reduction within 30 says of the end of the quarter in which the damaged occurred.
The first step in receiving state and federal disaster assistance made available under the November 18 Presidential disaster declaration is to register by calling the toll-free FEMA application number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). There is also a special number, TTY 1-800-462-7585, for the speech or hearing impaired. Both lines are open 8 a.m to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except operating hours for the Thanksgiving holiday will be: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. and closed Thanksgiving.