CLINTON, Miss. -- Mississippians in the 40 counties declared as major disaster areas either for the spring tornadoes or Mississippi River flooding may be eligible for various forms of federal tax relief that could ease the distress of some disaster-related losses.
Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. Details about these and other disaster tax issues can be found on the IRS website, www.IRS.gov
Depending on the circumstances, the IRS may grant additional time to file returns and pay taxes. Both individuals and businesses in a federally declared disaster area can get a faster refund by claiming losses related to the disaster on the tax return for the previous year, usually by filing an amended return.
Currently, residents in the following counties may be eligible for that help: Adams, Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Claiborne, Clay, Coahoma, DeSoto, Greene, Grenada, Hinds, Humphreys, Holmes, Issaquena, Jasper, Jefferson, Kemper, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Smith, Sunflower, Tishomingo, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Webster Wilkinson, Winston and Yazoo.
If an affected taxpayer receives a penalty notice from the IRS, the taxpayer should call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. Penalties or interest will be lessened only for taxpayers who have an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date, including an extended filing or payment due date, that falls within the Postponement Period.
IRS computer systems automatically identify taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and apply automatic filing and payment relief. Affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request tax relief.
Residents of Mississippi should know that not all flood damage qualifies for federal assistance. The President has to declare a major disaster first and federal disaster assistance only provides enough help for people to get a start on rebuilding. Flood insurance purchased through the NFIP program is available to homeowners, business owners and renters as long as they live in an NFIP participating community.
In an effort to bridge the gap that exists between the high rate of flooding events and the low percentage of flood insurance policies, FEMA is urging Mississippi residents to buy flood insurance now. For more information on flooding and flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
All Mississippi counties designated for disaster assistance are participating in the National Flood Program. That means properties in unincorporated areas of those counties can buy flood insurance.
Disaster assistance counties participating in NFIP are Adams, Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Claiborne, Clay, Coahoma, DeSoto, Greene, Grenada, Hinds, Humphreys, Holmes, Issaquena, Jasper, Jefferson, Kemper, Lafayette, Leflore, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Panola, Quitman, Sharkey, Smith, Sunflower, Tishomingo, Tunica, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilkinson, Winston and Yazoo.
Cities and towns within those counties also need to participate to enable their occupants to buy flood insurance. Otherwise, their residents will not be able to buy flood insurance.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.