HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are entitled to certain forms of tax relief according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you live, work or have a business in counties designated as federal disaster areas. The counties designated under disaster declarations for the two storms are Adams, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming and York.
The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in disaster areas and applies automatic filing and payment relief. Taxpayers not in a designated disaster area, but whose books, records, or tax professionals' offices are in a designated disaster area, are also entitled to relief.
FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas J. McCool advises taxpayers who think they may be eligible for disaster tax relief to call the IRS. "Since tax issues are specific to individuals and business owners, we recommend that people living in the designated areas contact the IRS if they did not receive the IRS computer generated notice. When you have suffered from the effects of a disaster, it's good to know you have some additional time to file your taxes."
Affected taxpayers claiming the disaster loss on last year's return should put the Disaster Designation "Pennsylvania/Hurricane Irene and/or Tropical Storm Lee" at the top of the form so the IRS can expedite processing the refund.
Anyone with questions should call the IRS disaster hotline, 1-866-562-5227. You should also check with your local tax authority to find out if your municipality offers tax relief to individuals impacted by the disasters.
FEMA urges anyone from the designated counties who had disaster-related losses to apply for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired.
If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. If you have a disability and need help registering, please don't hesitate to contact FEMA to ask for help.
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.