Disasters hold big implications on your taxes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Disasters hold big implications on your taxes

IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- The floods and tornado disasters of 2008 could play a big role in filing your tax returns.

It's the Anderson family's yearly visit to the tax preparation office.

"We have way to many things that need to be done," said Anderson.

They were lucky enough to avoid last year's flood and the hassle Iowa's disasters can cause this tax season.

"When we called in for an appointment, they asked if we were impacted by the flood, and explained that appointments take longer," said Anderson.

The damage from floods and disasters means more complications this tax season for their residents and tax professionals like Milinda Fraley of H&R Block.

"In the past we've been able to do a tax return in about 45 minutes, and if it's someone who's affected by the flood, it may anywhere from an hour and a half to two or three hours to get that tax return done," said Fraley.

If you're a flood victim, Fraley says you'll need to calculate the value of damaged or destroyed belongings and have records of any federal assistance you've received. Applied for jumpstart money? You'll need those records, too.

And Fraley says it's not just the floods complicating your tax return this year.

"Some taxpayers have lost their homes, not just to the floods, but bankruptcy. There's also some new laws concerning last year's stimulus package, this year's stimulus package," said Fraley.

The good news: many disaster victims, including students, could be eligible for tax credits. But Fraley says to get all you can: get help from a professional sooner rather than later.

"There are several things they may have to get information, that they may have to do a little bit of research on."

And the sooner you file, the sooner you can cash in any refund.

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