Congress mulls bill to provide tax relief after natural disasters

The spring tornado season is here, and in some places in the country, has descended with force. The months of April and May have seen more than 500 tornadoes in a 30-day period, according reports from federal government weather forecasters in The New York Times. The violent storms stretched from eastern Colorado and New Mexico up through the Midwest with some reported as far east as Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

Tuesday, May 28, was the 12th consecutive day with at least eight tornado reports – the most on record, stated Patrick Marsh with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

With an eye toward severe weather seasons, members of Congress recently introduced a bill that could speed up the process for providing taxpayers more time to file certain taxes after a natural disaster.

The Filing Relief for Natural Disasters Act would give the IRS the authority to postpone certain filing deadlines in response to a state-declared natural disaster or emergency instead of having to wait several days or even weeks for a presidentially declared disaster. The idea behind this bill would be to eliminate the time and resources taxpayers in these areas normally spend filing for penalty waivers and extensions.

We will continue to monitor this legislation so that we can be provide you up-to-date advice. In the meantime, there are things everyone can do to plan ahead of the impending storm:

  • Update your emergency plans for both your business and your home and family.
  • Create electronic copies of documents and store them in a safe place.
  • Document your valuables for any insurance claims or application for tax benefits.

Lindsey Pierce, CPA, is a partner with Antares Group, Inc. She can be reached at