Tax relief for Black Belt Counties

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 23, 2006

A tax relief opportunity is on the way for some taxpayers in Marengo County, as well as some in Greene, Hale, Pickens and Sumter Counties. The Internal Revenue Service is doing more than just helping the victims in Louisiana that were devastated from hurricane Katrina last summer.

The IRS granted postponement until Aug. 28, 2006, to some hurricane victims earlier this year. The recent news announcement, “Hurricane Relief: IRS Extends Deadlines, Offers Loss Options,” that the organization released on June 22, stated that the IRS has now granted an additional extension that moves the previous postponed deadline from Aug. 28 to Oct. 16, 2006.

IRS Media Specialist Dan Boone distinctly outlined the assistance now available for the eligible hurricane victims with tax burdens. “I always to help make things clear,” Boone said.

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According to Boone’s summary outlining key points from the June 22 hurricane related news announcement, “Affected taxpayers in 11 Alabama counties have more time to file 2004 and 2005 tax returns. Affected taxpayers must ‘self-identify’ to qualify for extended filing time.” Baldwin, Choctaw, Mobile, Tuscaloosa, and Washington Counties are also included. In Boone’s summary, “affected taxpayer,” in general terms, is “someone who lived in the declared county at the time of the hurricane or whose tax records were located there at that time.”

Boone included in the summation that “Affected taxpayers who had a valid filing extension for their 2004 tax return before Katrina hit,” were eligible for the new Oct. 16 filling extension deadline, but the “IRS now offers several optional methods for determining casualty losses from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma,” and they have an “extended relief period for REITs and subsidiaries that provide extended housing for Katrina or Rita victims in what are considered ‘transient’ lodging facilities.”

Boone said that transient lodging facilities are “where you expect for people to stay a short time.” According to the IRS Notice Number 200115023, which was retrieved through the Internal Revenue Service website, REIT is an abbreviation for Real Estate Investment Trust.

“Affected taxpayers who have not filed their 2005 tax return have until Oct. 16, 2006 to file the return or to request an additional six-month extension using Form 4868,” which is valid until April 16, 2007. The new extended Oct. 16 filing deadline is only applicable to individual income tax returns for 2004 and 2005.

Additional information regarding the tax matter can be retrieved by accessing the Internal Revenue Service’s website at: