CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- West Virginia residents who suffered losses in the severe storms that began in late July may be eligible for tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The IRS has ruled that such losses, defined as damage, destruction, or loss of property from a catastrophic event, may be deducted on the federal income tax return for the year in which the casualty occurred or by amending the return for the previous year.
Residents of the Fayette, Lincoln, Logan and Mingo Counties who had losses from the storms may amend their federal income tax returns for the year 2003, filed this year, to reflect all or part of their loss, or they may include the deductions in returns to be filed by April 15, 2005.
Deductible items include homes and personal property, such as furnishings, appliances, vehicles and clothing. Amending this year’s return to claim casualty losses may provide additional money for home repairs or replacing damaged goods.
The IRS general information toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040.
To learn more about claiming disaster losses, ask the IRS for its Disaster Losses Kit for Individuals (Publication 2194). The kit contains all the IRS forms and instructions necessary to file a disaster loss claim. Business owners should ask for Public 2194-B, which has specific instructions for businesses.
To get a copy of the disaster kit or any other IRS form, call 800-829-3676 (toll-free), or visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. Forms and publications are also available at local IRS tax assistance centers.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.