Disaster Feed

UPDATED, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021: Major disasters keep happening, like category 4 Hurricane Ida that made landfall Aug. 29, 2021, in Louisiana, but the possible recovery help remains in place. Take advantage of the federal government and other resources to help you get your life back on track. The U.S. and British Virgin Islands took a whacking today from Hurricane Dorian, which struck the Caribbean islands as a category 1. Puerto Rico, still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, was spared major damage as Dorian decided to take a more northward turn. Dorian is expected to shift... Read more →


Hurricane Ida is one reason why some taxpayers don't have to get their extended tax returns to the IRS on Oct. 15. (National Hurricane Center radar image of Ida making landfall) Millions of taxpayers are frantically filling out Internal Revenue Service forms right now. They are the folks who got an extension until today, Oct. 15, to submit their annual federal tax returns. Some, however, aren't in a hurry. The IRS has given them more time to complete their returns. Disaster related added delays: Unfortunately for those filers, the reason for an extended extension deadline isn't a welcome one. They... Read more →


If you have it in your heart, and bank account, consider donating to your favorite charity. It could help many through a difficult year, and also might provide you an enhanced tax deduction. 2021 has been, to put it as nicely as I can, one heck of a year. We commemorated the 20th year since the Sept. 11 foreign terrorists' attacks. We've had major and deadly natural disasters. We're still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. And we've got 3½ months to go. All these events, and the possibility of more (hurricane season, for example, lasts until the end of November),... Read more →


Updated, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, to add just-announced Hurricane Ida relief for some Pennsylvania taxpayers. Just two weeks ago, we were awaiting Hurricane Ida. Since then, Hurricane Larry went spinning into the North Atlantic and Tropical Storm Mindy rushed across parts of Florida and Georgia. Today. Sept. 13, Tropical Storm Nicholas is heading toward a Texas Gulf Coast landfall, after which it will send more rain into already water-logged Louisiana. But we're still dealing with Ida's deadly fallout in states beyond landfalling Louisiana. After coming ashore near New Orleans as a category 4 on Aug. 29, she moved northeastward across... Read more →


Whatever your reason for moving, be it a temporary disaster displacement or settling into your forever dream home, you need to let the Internal Revenue Service know where you are. Americans typically are a peripatetic lot. We move to be nearer family, to take new jobs, to enjoy the retirement lifestyle we've carefully planned. Other times, our moves are not a choice we wanted to make. After a major disaster, for example, folks who lived in a hard-hit area decide enough is enough. They're outta there. I totally get it. Even though our house in South Florida suffered relatively minor... Read more →


So how was your summer? Yep, it's over, or will be officially a bit later in this brand new month of September. In addition to bringing some cooler temperatures (eventually, or so promise my local weathermen and women), the ninth month of the year also marks the opening of schools (at least in part, depending on COVID-19 Delta outbreaks), and football seasons (American, not Ted Lasso's version). Tax tasks also are on this month's agenda. Yeah, taxes aren't as fun as football (either U.S. or global leagues) or as welcome as a break from the heat or the kiddos going... Read more →


Damage in the Galliano, Louisiana, area from Hurricane Ida as seen by U.S. Coast Guard overflight on Aug. 30. (Photo courtesy U.S.C.G./VIRIN: 210830-G-G0108-1006M) Hurricane Ida went from Tropical Depression 9 to a category 4 hurricane that slammed coastal Louisiana on Aug. 29 in just about three days. The Internal Revenue Service has reacted just as quickly. Today, the IRS announced that its offering tax relief to Ida victims. That includes pushing the Oct. 15 extended filing deadline (and other tax dates) to Jan. 3, 2022. The tax relief applies to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)... Read more →


Satellite image of Hurricane Ida entering the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. (Click the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service image to see looping version). Everyone in Hurricane Ida's path better already be on the road out of there or in or heading to some storm safe shelter. This one could be really, really bad. So for this weekend's Saturday Shout Out, I'm turning to items on last-minute preparation for and recovery after a major disaster. Time's short, so here goes, starting with some of Uncle Sam's official government assistance websites. Federal... Read more →


Records, tax and financial, are often among the property damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. If you're lucky, you might be able, like this woman, to salvage some of the documents. If not, you'll need to recreate them to take advantage of tax-related storm relief. (Image courtesy Louisiana Law Blog) We're heading into peak Atlantic hurricane season, which means much of the United States could face disastrous circumstances like those already being dealt with coast-to-coast. In major disasters, various types of tax relief are available, including claiming storm-related losses as an itemized deduction. One of the key considerations here... Read more →


The devastating Haitian earthquake. Deadly flooding in Tennessee and North Carolina. Tropical Storm Henri damage in the Northeast. Drought-fueled destructive wildfires in California. Add the global Delta surge that's exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic and it does seem, as my grandmother would say, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. If you've managed to avoid any or all of these disasters and want to help those who are less fortunate, thanks. Here are some ways to do so. Myriad mechanisms to give: The standard big dog nonprofits, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, remain the go-to donation... Read more →


Hurricane season 2021 is back. Tropical Storm Fred is heading toward the eastern Gulf of Mexico, with much of Florida in the National Weather Service's cone of uncertainty. (Screen shot image from The Weather Channel) 2020 was one of the busiest hurricane seasons ever in the United States, creating major issues particularly along the Gulf Coast. Will 2021, be a replay? Possibly. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last week issued its mid-season update for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA is expecting more storms than it originally forecast. Hurricane prediction hiked: Uncle Sam's official weather watchers now predict... Read more →


Ah, August. In normal times (remember those?), we'd be complaining about the late-summer heat, parents would be counting down days until school started, and tax geeks would be looking at things they should do this month. Well, things are decidedly not normal. It's been abnormally hot in much of the country already. Some schools are reopening, but with more COVID-19 precautions than they had planned since the virus has re-emerged with a vengeance due to the Delta variant. Those August tax moves, though, they're still around, of course with some coronavirus twists. And today, Aug. 2, the first Monday of... Read more →


One of the severe storms that hit Michigan on June 26. In the wake of a major disaster declaration, the IRS is giving some of the state's taxpayers until Nov. 1 to take care of tax tasks. (Photo by Ben Kessler via the National Weather Service) The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to an early start. Since then, though, it's been a slow tropical season. Thank you, Saharan dust (and Deb Fox)! However, other major natural disasters have made up for it. So far in 21, there have been 14 instances of tax relief provided by the Internal Revenue... Read more →


What's the result when the worst things happen? Too often, it's terrible people taking advantage of good people. This occurs with alarming regularity in the tax world following tragedies and disasters. Con artists use horrible events to convince compassionate individuals to donate to groups that will help out the victims. What really happens all too often is the caring donors become victims, too. Fake charities are just one type of scam in today's third installment of the IRS' Dirty Dozen for 2021. This category of tax ruses in which dishonest people trick others into doing something illegal often includes fraudulent... Read more →


June 15 — yep, this coming Tuesday — is Tax Day for all Louisianans (and Texans and Oklahomans) who endured mid-February's historic freeze. But some Pelican State taxpayers now get even longer to finish up their 2020 tax year returns. The Internal Revenue Service says victims of severe storms and flooding in parts of Louisiana that began May 17 now have until Aug. 16 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The affected filers live in or have businesses in Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette Parishes. These parishes were designated as disaster... Read more →


Overhead view of flooding. (Image by Pok Rie via Pexels) It's already been a literally disastrous year for millions of Americans. When Mother Nature does her worst, major disaster areas are declared, meaning affected residents get access to federal assistance. However, the process for providing disaster-related tax relief can take time and be confusing. Sometimes it can be frustratingly close to, or even after, impending tax deadlines. The Internal Revenue Service can't make any decisions to give disaster-struck individual and business taxpayers any filing and payment relief until the president declares a major disaster and the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more →


Are you ready for Tax Day take two? It's June 15 and it's almost here. That mid-June day is the annual deadline for millions of U.S. taxpayers who are living outside the country. That includes members of the armed forces stationed abroad. It's also the due date for the current year's second estimated tax payment. And this year, even more taxpayers will participate. June 15, 2021, is the first Tax Day for millions who literally endured disastrous situations earlier this year. Here's the scoop for all these folks now facing impending June tax obligations. U.S. taxpayers living abroad: Every year,... Read more →


June's arrival, especially now that many coronavirus limits are being lifted, means the start of summertime fun. But it's also a good month to make some key tax moves before heading off to your favorite recreational pursuits. We did it! Survived Tax Day 2021 … unless you're among the millions who got an extension to file or live in a state where the deadline to submit 2020 tax returns was even further delayed. In that case, one of the things you need to take care of this month is filing your taxes. Here more on that and four other tax... Read more →


Even though Tax Day 2021 has come and gone, the Internal Revenue Service has decided to give some storm-struck West Virginians in the western part of the state more time to file their 2020 tax returns. Even after skies clear, flood waters remain. (Photo courtesy FEMA Facebook page) Sometimes even the Internal Revenue Service runs a bit late. That's the case with its announcement today, May 27, that some West Virginians now have a little more than a month to file their 2020 taxes. Until June 30, to be precise. Yes, Tax Day this year was May 17, almost two... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer across the United States. It's also a time for sales tax free shopping in two states. Here in Texas, my neighbors and I get the long weekend to pick up some water and energy efficient appliances without owing the state's 6 percent and local sales taxes, which could afford up to another 2 percent in tax savings. My friends and former neighbors in Florida also get a sales tax holiday this coming holiday weekend and longer. Last week, the Sunshine State's governor signed into law the state's 10-day-long 2021 Disaster Preparedness... Read more →


2021 already has brought us tornadoes, floods, fires and more. Now the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season has arrived early, again, meaning it's time to get ready for that and whatever disaster is common where you live. The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't start until June 1, but we already (again!) have an early forming storm. Subtropical Storm Ana developed today, May 22, near Bermuda. (Screen shot of The Weather Channel video.) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast calls for another active six (or more) months. So far, that prediction looks spot on. The... Read more →