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Help from the IRS for tornado victims

People in the South and Midwest are still cleaning up from the spate of severe weather at the end of February and early March. Now some help from Uncle Sam for the first round of storms is official.

Henryville, Ind., tornado damage March 6 2012 via FEMAHenryville, Ind., March 6, 2012 -- Tornadoes tore through several communities in southern Indiana March 2, leaving a wide swatch of destruction and damaged homes and businesses, plus a number of deaths. Michael Raphael/FEMA photo

The Internal Revenue Service says that victims of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding that started on Feb. 29 in parts of Kentucky may qualify for tax relief.

That's good news for those folks. And disaster relief via the tax code also is today's Daily Tax Tip.

President Obama has declared Johnson, Kenton, Laurel, Lawrence, Menifee, Morgan and Pendleton counties a federal disaster area. As such, individuals who reside or have a business in the designated disaster counties may qualify for tax relief.

Under this latest disaster declaration, certain tax deadlines falling on or after Feb. 29, and on or before May 31, have been postponed to May 31.

Note that this postponement time frame covers the April 17 deadline for filing 2011 individual income tax returns, making income tax payments (including estimated taxes) and making 2011 contributions to an individual retirement account.  

In addition, the IRS says that for businesses in the affected area it is waiving the failure-to-deposit penalties for employment and excise tax deposits due on or after Feb. 29 as long as the deposits are made by March 15.

If you receive a penalty notice from the IRS, call the telephone number on the notice to have the IRS abate any interest and any late filing or late payment penalties.

This disaster area designation is just for Kentucky storm victims. But expect to see similar announcements from the IRS as soon as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel complete their assessments of the March storm areas.

The IRS maintains an online list of its disaster declarations; scroll down to the middle of the page, the section titled Other Recent Tax Relief.

You also might want to check FEMA's disaster declarations page.

And remember, you can still donate to disaster relief efforts and, if you itemize, get a charitable giving tax deduction.

You also might find these items of interest:

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