Cridersville, OH - Ohioans affected by the July 4 flooding may be eligible for various forms of tax relief that could lessen some losses, federal and state recovery officials said today. Part of the personal property losses caused by the disaster that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements may be deductible.
"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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "The advantage of this is that it can result in a quicker refund than is available if the losses are filed on this year's return."
The IRS gives affected taxpayers in Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, Logan, Shelby,Van Wert, Pike and Crawford counties until September 15, 2003 to file tax returns or make tax payments that have either an original or an extended due date falling between July 4 and September 15, 2003. Taxpayers will need to mark certain relief-related forms with the designation "July Storms & Floods-OH."
"We want all who suffered losses to access the maximum benefits available," Ohio Emergency Management Agency's Deputy State Coordinating Officer Richard Roman said. "This is one of those benefits."
In addition, Roman 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 in the disaster.
"The amount of reduction would be prorated based on the calendar quarter in which the damage occurred," Roman said. Property owners must file an application with the county auditor for a reduction within 30 days of the end of the quarter in which the damaged occurred.
Households and business owners who suffered losses in the floods are urged to call FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The registration line for persons who are hearing or speech impaired is TTY 1-800-462-7585.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.