I'm often critical of the IRS. No surprise really, as I'm a tax accountant. On top of all the other problems with major bureaucracies, the IRS is often slow to react to the unexpected. Sometimes, however, they do well. The IRS has done several things (subscription required) to provide hurricane assistance.
First, victims of hurricane Katrina can call 1-866-562-5227 to get help with tax matters. You can call this number to get free copies of tax return transcripts (often needed for all sorts of financial aid), to get the ball rolling on tax relief, or to receive disaster loss kits. Please, if you're not a victim of the Hurricane, don't clog this line. Don't call it even if you're calling for someone who is a victim. The IRS is generally not allowed to discuss anyone else's tax situation with you unless you have a power of attorney.
Other things the IRS is doing:
- Waiving the penalty on highway use of died diesel fuel until September 15th. (To help deal with shortages.)
- Postponing tax payment deadlines until Otober 31st for those affected by the hurricane. (From what I'm seeing, this may not be enough for a lot of people. I hope they keep that in mind.)
- Staying enforcement of the penalty on diesel fuels that don't meet the EPAs new sulfur guidelines.
- Waiving penalties that would otherwise prevent owners of low-income housing projects from providing housing to refugees that don't qualify as low-income.
Good for them.