LITTLE ROCK Ark. -- Taxpayers affected by Hurricane Katrina now have until Feb. 28, 2006 to file tax returns and pay any taxes due following legislation approved by Congress and signed by the President, the Internal Revenue Service announced recently.
The Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 (H.R. 3768) postpones deadlines for affected taxpayers to file tax returns, pay taxes and perform other time-sensitive acts until Feb. 28, 2006. Taxpayers affected by the hurricane may be eligible for tax relief, regardless of where they live.
For taxpayers located in the areas hardest-hit by Katrina those counties or parishes designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as individual assistance areas the tax relief will be automatic, and taxpayers won?t need to do anything to get the extensions and other relief available.
In areas where FEMA has determined damage is more isolated designated as public assistance areas or for other taxpayers outside the hardest-hit areas whose books, records or tax professionals are located in the affected areas, people will need to identify themselves to the IRS as hurricane victims.
Taxpayers who need to identify themselves as hurricane victims should write Hurricane Katrina in red ink at the top of their tax forms or any other documents filed with the IRS. Taxpayers who need to alert the IRS or have other hurricane-related questions can also call the special IRS disaster hotline at 1-866-562-5227. For additional tax information, log onto the official IRS Web site www.irs.gov or the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation Web site www.house.gov/jct.
The IRS has 5,000 telephone operators working with FEMA to answer tax-related questions.
For information regarding disaster assistance from FEMA, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people who are speech- or hearing-impaired. Lines are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Hurricane victims may also register online at www.fema.gov.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.