Georgia residents affected by Hurricane Ivan may be eligible for various forms of tax relief that could lessen some losses, federal and state disaster recovery officials said.
“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits those with casualty losses suffered as a result of the disaster to claim this year’s losses on last year’s return, or amend last year’s return already mailed,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. “The advantage is a quicker refund than available if the losses are filed on returns for 2004.”
Casualty losses for tax purposes are based on the decrease in fair market value of the property as a result of the disaster, minus any insurance payments or other reimbursements received. The IRS will ask for the latest tax return, estimates of repairs, before and after photographs, appraisals or any other loss documentation.
Disaster tax reduction is available to taxpayers living in any of the 17 disaster-declared counties and contiguous counties that sustained losses as a direct result of the hurricane. The counties declared by President Bush following the hurricane are Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Early, Franklin, Fulton, Gilmer, Madison, Miller, Pickens, Rabun, Towns, Union, and White.
“We want all eligible victims to receive the maximum benefits available. This is one of those benefits,” said Mike Sherberger, state coordinating officer and director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).
Sherberger advises people affected by the disaster to check with their local county auditor about the possibility of claiming a reduction in the taxable value of property destroyed or damaged.
“The amount would be pro-rated based on the calendar quarter in which the damage occurred,” added Sherberger.