Harvey and taxes: IRS explains methods of relief for those affected by storm

EMBED </>More Videos

Tax relief explained for those impacted by Harvey (KTRK)

Hurricane Harvey continues to present problems for some neighbors, especially now with it being tax season.

Elizabeth Hughes and her husband received more than five feet of water in their Friendswood home in late August.

"I don't even know if I'm going to make it back home," Hughes said.

Figuring out what they're going to do next isn't their only challenge.

It's tax season.

"That's why we haven't done it yet," Hughes said. "It's a little scary."

To get answers, Eyewitness News spoke with the IRS and tax experts.

It's not about the amount you spent in repairs but loss in property value.

For example, if your property value dropped after the storm, you can write off the difference.

You can also write off household items that were either damaged or stolen.

LINK: IRS Guide for Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts

Don't forget any financial assistance you received, including $500 from the American Red Cross or FEMA.

You have to calculate those funds, and subtract it from the overall amount of loss you deduct.

Even if you didn't flood, you could get a bigger refund.

If you couldn't work or lost wages, you can to apply for the earned income tax credit upwards of $6,000.

Because of Hurricane Harvey, neighbors can apply for it using their 2016 and 2017 salaries, and whichever yields a higher refund, they can collect.
LINK: Hurricane Victims Qualify for Earned Income Credit

"They may have already qualified previously, and they may be entitled to more now, or they may not have qualified before in the past, but because their income dropped they may qualify for the earned income tax credit this year," IRS spokesperson Lea Crusberg said.

It's a possible boost some neighbors could desperately use.

"We're just really hoping for at least some sort of relief from the taxes that we've already paid," Hughes said.

There are also sites where neighbors can get free tax help.

To find out where those locations are, click here.

Follow Nick Natario on Twitter and Facebook.
Related Topics:
taxeshurricane harveydisaster relieftexas newsHouston
(Copyright ©2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)