Hurricane victims get more time to file tax claims

Help for Hurricane Victims: Information on Tax Relief, Charitable Issues

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Victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma will have an extra six months to decide whether to claim disaster-related losses on their federal income tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

Taxpayers who suffered losses from the hurricanes in certain areas along the Gulf Coast have until Oct. 16, 2006, to choose whether to claim those losses on their current or prior year's returns. For example, taxpayers who wish to claim disaster-related losses on their 2004 tax returns instead of the 2005 returns will have an extra six months to make that choice. The original deadline was April 17, 2006.

To speed processing, IRS officials say taxpayers should write the name of the hurricane in red at the top of their returns. People who have already filed their prior year's returns can amend them.

Today’s announcement does not affect the regular tax-filing deadlines for either the 2004 or 2005 federal income tax returns.

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