Congress Passes Disaster Tax Relief for the Hurricane Victims

TheStreet reports on how congress made it easier to file for your 2017 taxes if you were a victim of Hurricane Harvey, Irma or Maria.
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Video Transcript:

If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or Maria or you know someone who is... listen up. Congress actually passed a pretty comprehensive bill that will be particularly helpful to you when you file your 2017 taxes.

Now the most important piece pertains to casualty losses. Basically, those are any losses from the disaster that are not reimbursed by insurance... you can claim that on your tax return. Typically, folks that take the standard deduction can NOT take a casualty loss. For 2017, if you were a victim of one of these hurricanes - now you can.

In addition, the amount of the loss is usually limited by a percentage of your adjusted gross income, that's gone for 2017 as well. If you typically qualify for the earned income tax credit or the child tax credits - those rules are loosened too - so more people can qualify for them.

And we all know that insurance never really covers the full tab of the rebuild so if you need money, your 401k is available to you. And while all the financial planners are going to scream, too bad. This isn't a rainy day, it's a hurricane and you need to take care of your family. Remember, it's your money.

Go talk to your employer about getting a loan, you can take up to 100,000 dollars. And you won't have to pay that 10% early withdrawal penalty if you're under age 59 ½. But remember, this is a loan and you have to pay yourself back - so make sure you understand those rules.

And remember, if you filed for an extension of your 2016 tax return back in April, that deadline has been extended. You now have until January 31 to file. This is not just for hurricane victims, but also those affected by the California wildfires.

And for those of you donating to organizations that are helping the hurricane victims, keep donating! While there is usually a limitation on the amount of the charitable contributions you can make based on your income. There is NO limit on the amount of the contributions you can give to help the victims, so keep giving. And there's a lot more on

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