IRS will Begin Accepting Tax Returns

January 11, 2019

The IRS will begin accepting 2018 tax returns on Jan. 29, 2019.  At any time after that date, victims of federally declared disasters can file their forms 4684 (Casualty & Thefts) to report losses that may be deductible.  This is often a victim’s first, best opportunity to access ready cash in order to begin the rebuilding process.

2018 was a terrible year for disasters. While there were nearly 100 declared disasters in 2018, the list that follows represents those for which individual assistance is available to those who suffered losses.

 

2018 FEMA Disaster Declarations with Assistance to Individuals & Households

Georgia Hurricane Michael (DR-4400)

Incident period: October 09, 2018 to October 23, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on October 14, 2018

 

Florida Hurricane Michael (DR-4399)

Incident period: October 07, 2018 to October 19, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on October 11, 2018

 

South Carolina Hurricane Florence (DR-4394)

Incident period: September 08, 2018 to October 08, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 16, 2018

 

North Carolina Hurricane Florence (DR-4393)

Incident period: September 07, 2018 to September 29, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on September 14, 2018

 

California Wildfires (DR-4407)

Incident period: November 08, 2018 to November 25, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on November 12, 2018

 

California Wildfires and High Winds (DR-4382)

Incident period: July 23, 2018 to September 19, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on August 04, 2018

 

Wisconsin Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Straight-line Winds, Flooding, and Landslides (DR-4402)

Incident period: August 17, 2018 to September 14, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on October 18, 2018

 

Hawaii Kilauea Volcanic Eruption and Earthquakes (DR-4366)

Incident period: May 3, 2018 to August 17, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on May 11, 2018

 

Hawaii Severe Storms, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides (DR-4365)

Incident period: April 13, 2018 to April 16, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on May 8, 2018

 

North Carolina Tornado and Severe Storms (DR-4364)

Incident period: April 15, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on May 8, 2018

 

Indiana Severe Storms and Flooding (DR-4363)

Incident period: February 14, 2018 to March 4, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on May 4, 2018

 

Alabama Severe Storms and Tornadoes (DR-4362)

Incident period: March 19, 2018 to March 20, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on April 26, 2018

 

California Wildfires, Flooding, Mudflows and Debris Flows (DR-4353)

Incident period: December 4, 2017 to January 31, 2018

Major Disaster Declaration declared on January 2, 2018

 

Collectively, these disasters killed more than 200 people, damaged or destroyed nearly one million properties, and cost tens of billions of dollars.  I can affirm from visiting many of these areas in the aftermath of the disasters that no mere fact sheet or list of numbers can tell the story of the devastation and suffering.

We at Disaster Relief hope we can serve disaster victims by helping them access their own tax dollars via casualty loss claims and begin the rebuilding process.  For those homeowner/taxpayers who experienced losses in 2018, now is the time to consider filing a claim.  The process is very straightforward. 

 1.     Get a determination of your loss (this is what we can do for you) so you can document your claim

2.     You (or your tax preparer) files a casualty loss claim form 4684 along with your return

 

This may provide a significant tax deduction that could result in a much needed tax refund.

Please let us know if we can help.  You can visit our website at www.disaster-relief.us, or call us at (843) 724-7870.  I plan to be back in the Carolinas, Florida and northern California in the coming weeks and would be glad to meet with you personally.

Mark Stockton

The Camp Fire

December 12, 2018

I have spent the past couple of days in the area of the Camp Fire – the Chico/Paradise area.  I was able to drive to the entrance of Paradise, but not beyond.  It is still off limits - even to most homeowners – while the process of clearing trees and repairing power lines continues.  No one knows how long it might be before residents of Paradise are allowed back in to assess the damage to their homes.

 

The contrast with the hurricane damaged communities is striking.  I did not speak with a single person in the Chico/Paradise area who had not lost their home or had a family member or close friend lose their home.  The stoicism disguises a burden of grief that has weighed down the entire populace.  Hurricanes Florence & Harvey damaged or destroyed more homes, but the tragic nature of what happened to one entire, small community in northern California is so dramatic it is difficult to imagine or explain.

After Hurricane Florence

December 9, 2018

On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wilmington, NC.  The devastation that followed was of epic proportion.  Although it weakened from a category 3 hurricane to category one before hitting the coast, the rains and storm surge that accompanied the event were disastrous.  It has been estimated that more than 30,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in North and South Carolina – about the same number as were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey on the Texas coast a year earlier.  In New Bern, NC, a town of only 30,000 residents, more than 4,300 homes were damaged or destroyed.

 

I visited New Bern in mid-October and the clean up was still going on.  There were mountains of debris stacked beside roads in front of houses that must have been uninhabitable.  However, as I had seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston in September of 2017, most houses appeared as if nothing had happened when viewed from the curbside.  Some homes showed evidence of water depth on their exteriors, but many did not.  It was impossible to tell whether the homeowners had vacated the properties or were inside relaxing in their living rooms.  It was a very odd experience.

 

As I write this, I am on my way to Paradise, CA – the town that was virtually wiped off the map by the Camp Fire which burned 150,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 10,000 homes.  I’m curious how my impression will contrast with that of the hurricane damage I have seen.