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IRS Offers Tips for Tax Filers Who Were Flood/Storm Victims in 2010

NASHVILLE – With tax filing season just beginning, the Internal Revenue Service today alerted 2010 flood and storm victims about tax relief provisions available, including a way to possibly get a tax refund by filing a casualty loss claim using their 2009 tax form.

"Many flood or storm victims may benefit from claiming a casualty loss with the IRS, especially those who did not have insurance," said IRS spokesman Dan Boone.

According to Boone, affected taxpayers in the 46 Tennessee counties declared federal disaster areas after the May 2010 floods and storms generally have the option of claiming a casualty loss on their 2009 or 2010 return.

"The casualty loss rules for 2009 differ from those for 2010, so filers must decide which rules are the most beneficial for their own situation," Boone said. "Those who plan to use their 2009 return to claim a casualty loss for 2010 must file or amend it by April 15, 2011."

Taxpayers who were casualty/disaster victims in 2010 should consider all these tax benefits:

1. Affected taxpayers in a Presidentially-declared county are generally eligible to:
File or amend their 2009 federal tax return by April 15, 2011, to claim 2010 casualty losses.
Get expedited copies of prior year tax returns and have the fees waived.

2. Storm or flood victims who replaced heating and air systems, windows, doors, insulation or other items related to energy efficiency should check to see if they are eligible for the Residential Energy Credit. The credit is a maximum of $1500 for 2009 and 2010 expenditures combined. To determine which items qualify for the tax credit, visit

3. To receive expedited service from the IRS, flood or storm victims must put the disaster designation, "Tennessee/Severe Storms, Flooding, Straight-Line Winds and Tornadoes," at the top of any tax return or correspondence sent to the IRS.

4. Forms and publications are available at for calculating disaster losses and seeking tax breaks. Visit the "Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses" page.

5. Taxpayers with questions about casualty losses can call the IRS Disaster Assistance hotline toll-free at 1-866-562-5227.

Taxpayers can also visit the Legal Aid Society website,, to read a booklet entitled, "2010 Tax Guide for Flood Victims," or to watch a video about gathering documents needed for filing a casualty loss claim. The Legal Aid Society is not connected with the Internal Revenue Service, but both LAS and IRS have partnered with organizations and agencies to help flood victims.

Published January 31, 2011

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