Will AI Protect Taxpayers from Scams?

At a Inflation Reduction Act industry conference held on June 5, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Transformation Lead for Notifications and Scams, Kareem Williams, discussed the latest efforts to protect taxpayers. The IRS is exploring options with private companies to provide "real-time solutions" when new scams arise.

There is extensive interest by IRS staff in using artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover scams. Williams commented, "We need you to bring your expertise as to other ways that we can creatively and safely and responsibly use AI to disrupt scams and schemes."

The IRS is in the process of pursuing a "full-spectrum solution and an alert system to communicate across agencies and other stakeholders." This new communication effort could include the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the banking industry.

The IRS and its Security Summit partners continue to provide guidance to taxpayers on avoiding tax and financial scams. There are specific strategies that help taxpayers reduce risk.

  1. Slow Down - Scammers often use urgency to pressure victims. The IRS emphasizes that the process for audit and collection is deliberate. If a scammer demands immediate action, you should pause and ask questions. By slowing down and exploring the situation, you are much less likely to get into trouble.
  2. Check Out Person - If you are contacted by an individual claiming to be from the IRS or another government agency, you should check the specific details. Find out who the individual is and their job title and role with the organization. You can use your favorite search engine to check the name, background and credibility of the person or the organization that is claiming to contact you. An effective method is to enter the name of the individual or organization and the word "scam" when doing your search.
  3. Do Not Send Money or Gift Cards - The scammer will frequently demand an immediate transfer of funds to pay taxes or for another purpose. They may deliberately rush you into using an unusual payment method. This might be a gift card, cryptocurrency or a wire transfer from your bank. If the caller requests immediate payment with unusual methods, you should recognize it as a scam and refuse to send the funds.

If you think you are a victim of a scam, you should retain any emails, messages or paperwork. You can send emails to the IRS at phishing@IRS.gov . If you discover a false tax return was submitted in your name, use the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039).

If you sent your credit card number or bank account information, contact the bank or credit card company immediately. Their fraud transaction division may be able to return your funds and stop additional transactions. If you used a gift card or wire transfer, contact the issuer or your bank. There may still be a possibility of stopping the transaction.

Finally, if you have given the fraudster your Social Security number or other personal information, the three major credit agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) can place a fraud alert on your credit report. This makes it more difficult for the scammer to open new accounts based on your stolen information.


Published June 7, 2024

Can You Stop and Restart Social Security Benefits?

I recently got an unexpected inheritance, and I do not need Social Security income right now. Is it possible to suspend my benefits and restart them at a later age?

There are two different options that allow Social Security beneficiaries to reverse their claiming decision. To be eligible, specific conditions must be met. Here is what you should know.

Withdrawal Benefits

If you are in your first year of collecting retirement benefits, you can apply to Social Security for a "withdrawal of benefits." Social Security will let you withdraw your original application for retirement benefits, but it must be within 12 months of the date you first claimed your benefits.

If you opt for a withdrawal, Social Security will treat it as if you never applied for benefits in the first place. However, opting for a withdrawal requires you to repay all the benefits received, including those of any family members who have been collecting benefits on your earnings record, such as a spouse or minor child. This requirement also includes repayment of any money that was withheld from your Social Security payments - for example, to pay your Medicare premiums.

You can only withdraw your application for Social Security benefits once, and you can apply for benefits again later when the monthly amount would be larger. To withdraw your benefits, fill out Social Security form SSA-521 (ssa.gov/forms/ssa-521.pdf) and send the completed form to your local Social Security office. If you change your mind, you have 60 days from the date Social Security approves your withdrawal to cancel the request.

Suspend Benefits

If you are not in the 12-month window or repaying your Social Security benefits is not financially feasible, there is another option to reverse benefits although you must be at full retirement age or older to be eligible.

Full retirement age is 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957, but it rises in two-month increments every birth year to age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. You can find your full retirement age at SSA.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/ageincrease.html .

At full retirement age, you can "suspend" your Social Security benefit without the need to repay benefits. Choosing to suspend will stop your monthly Social Security benefits and those of any dependent family members (except a divorced spouse).

During the suspension, you will also accrue delayed retirement credits, which will increase your monthly retirement benefit by up to two-thirds of 1% for each suspended month (or 8% for each suspended year) up until age 70.

Suspended benefits would automatically resume at 70. Alternatively, you could choose to resume Social Security benefits earlier, but you would only receive delayed retirement credits for the period when benefits were suspended.

You can request a Social Security suspension over the phone (800-722-1213), in writing or in person at your local Social Security office. The suspension would begin the month after you make the request.

If Social Security benefits are withdrawn or suspended and you are enrolled in Medicare Part B, you will start receiving a quarterly bill from Medicare for payment by mail or electronically. Normally, Medicare Part B premiums ($174.70 per month in 2024 for most beneficiaries) are deducted directly from monthly Social Security payments. You can also sign up for Medicare Easy Pay, a service which automatically deducts your premium payments from your savings or checking account each month.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published June 7, 2024

Helpful Tips for Maintaining Balance

I have fallen a few times over the past year and was interested in learning balance exercises that can help improve my steadiness?

Most people do not think about practicing to maintain their balance but having good balance can be important to staying healthy. Our balance may decline if we do not stay active. Poor balance can potentially lead to falls which may cause injuries.

Every year, more than one in four people who have reached age 65 or older experience a fall. This risk increases with age. Here is what you should know about balance, along with some exercises to improve your stability.

Conditions that Affect Balance

Balance is something many people take for granted until it is impacted by a medical condition, medication or advanced age. These factors can affect a person’s balance and make an individual less stable over time.

Poor balance can also lead to a vicious cycle of inactivity. If you feel a little unsteady, you may curtail certain activities. If you are less active, you may not be challenging your balance systems or using your muscles as much. As a result, both your balance and strength may suffer. Simple activities like strolling through a grocery store or getting up from a chair become more difficult.

Balance Exercises

Some individuals have balance problems tied to illness, medication or other specific causes. If you are experiencing problems with your balance, you should always consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. While your healthcare provider may recommend specific therapies based on your condition, here are four simple exercises some people use to help preserve and improve balance:

  • One-legged stands: Stand on one foot for 30 seconds or longer, then switch to the other foot. Stand near a wall or chair for assistance if needed. For an extra challenge, try closing your eyes or standing on a throw pillow.
  • Heel-to-toe walking: Take 20 steps while looking straight ahead. Try to walk in a perfectly straight line.
  • Standing up: Without using your hands, get up from a straight-backed chair and sit back down 10 to 20 times. This improves balance and leg strength.
  • Tai chi: Research has shown that the practice of tai chi, which uses a combination of slow, graceful movements, meditation and deep breathing, can help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.

For more information on different balance exercises you can do at home, there are a variety of balance and strength exercises available online, including beginner tai chi instructional videos. Additionally, some senior fitness programs offer online classes that guide you through exercises you can do at home.

Visit with a Doctor

If you have already fallen, are noticeably dizzy, unsteady or have a medical condition affecting your balance, you should consult a doctor. The doctor might refer you to a physical therapist or to an appropriate balance-training class in your community. It is important to know that many medicines and medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and inner-ear disorders can affect balance.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 31, 2024

Free File Extended for Five Years - Direct File Decision Promised Soon

On May 22, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service announced a five-year extension of the Free File program. With Free File, taxpayers can use tax-filing software at no cost. During the 2024 filing season, there were approximately 2.9 million returns filed using the Free File program.

IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel stated, "Free File remains an important part of the IRS portfolio to help taxpayers file their taxes for free. We were pleased to see growth in the program this year, and we look forward to continuing this important collaboration with the tax software industry."

Free File has been available for 22 years. Currently, there are eight private Free File partners who provide their software at no charge to qualified taxpayers. To qualify, the Free File programs are for individuals with 2023 adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $79,000.

The IRS also indicated it is making plans on the future of the Direct File program. Bridget Roberts, Director of the IRS's Direct-File program, noted during a Washington conference on May 22 that "We are anticipating making a decision in the coming weeks."

The pilot version of Direct File allowed taxpayers in 12 states to file returns. Over 140,000 taxpayers filed returns with Direct File. The new program involved an IRS expenditure of $24.6 million for development costs. The IRS is currently communicating with the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee, the IRS Advisory Council and the Council for Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement about the future of the Direct File program.

Over 130 Senators and Representatives sent a May 15 letter to the Department of Treasury and encouraged continuation of the Direct File program.

The lawmakers noted, "Taxpayers want and deserve a free and easy filing option, and thanks to this year's pilot, taxpayers used Direct File to claim over $90 million in tax refunds and save $5.6 million in estimated filing fees, with 90% of surveyed users rating their experience positively and 86% saying their experience with the tool increased their trust in the Internal Revenue Service."

The IRS conducted surveys of Direct File users and claimed this program was a "clear and resounding success." Additional data shows 96% of users were satisfied with the integrated state filing and 82% to 87% of users would recommend Direct File to others.

The lawmakers noted that the Direct File program survey showed that it was easy to use. It also saved both time and money — on average, Americans spend $150 and 9 hours to file their taxes. The letter concluded, "We hope Direct File will support additional sources of income, integrate with more states, offer more flexible identity verification procedures, and accommodate additional tax benefits, with a focus on refundable credits available to low- and middle-income families."


Published May 24, 2024

Ways to Make Gardening Easier

What tips can you offer to make gardening easier on the body? I love to putter around and work in the garden, but my back and knees have caused me to curtail my gardening activities.

There is no doubt that gardening can be hard on a body. Joints stiffen up, prolonged kneeling causes discomfort and bending and reaching can strain muscles. But that does not mean you have to give up your hobby. You may need to garden differently by adding some specialized tools and knowing your limits. Here are some tips that may help.

Limber Up

With gardening, good form is very important as well as not overdoing any one activity. A common problem is that gardeners often kneel or squat which puts extra pressure on their knees. To provide relief from these positions, gardeners will then stand and bend over for long stretches to weed, dig and plant. This prolonged standing and bending places strain on the back and spine.

To help protect your body, you should warm up before beginning. Start by stretching, concentrating on the legs and lower back. Once you start gardening, it helps to frequently change positions and activities. For instance, do not spend hours weeding a flowerbed. After 15 minutes of weeding, stand up, stretch and switch to another activity like pruning the bushes. You should also take rest breaks.

It is also important that you recognize any physical limitations and do not try to do too much at once. When lifting heavier objects, remember to use your legs to protect your back. You can do this by keeping the item close to your body and keeping your back as vertical as possible when squatting.

Get Better Tools

The proper gardening equipment can also help. Kneeling pads can protect knees while garden seats can limit back and knee pain. Lightweight garden carts and collapsible wheelbarrows make hauling mulch, dirt, plants or other heavy objects much easier. Long-handled gardening and weeding tools ease back strain by keeping you in a standing upright position versus bent over.

There are also ergonomic gardening and pruning tools with larger handles and other design features that can make lawn and garden activities less painful. Your local garden store or online retailer may sell a variety of specialty lawn and garden tools that will ease the stress on your body.

Make Watering Easier

The chore of carrying water or handling a heavy, awkward hose can also be difficult for some gardeners. Watering alternatives include lightweight fabric or expandable hoses, soaker or drip hoses that can be snaked throughout the garden, thin coil hoses that can be used on the patio or small areas, a hose caddy and reel for easier hose transport around the yard or a self-winding hose. There are also a variety of ergonomic watering wands that are lightweight and easy to grip to reach those hard to-get-to plants.

Bring the Garden to You

If your backyard garden has become too much to handle, you should consider elevated garden beds or container gardening with big pots, window boxes, hanging baskets, barrels or tub planters. This is a much easier way to garden because it eliminates much of the bend and strain of gardening but still provides the pleasure of watching things grow.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 24, 2024

WCCF Donors Award Grants to Local Organizations

The generous donors of the Washington County Community Foundation awarded grants to non-profit organizations serving Washington County by for the Spring 2024 grant cycle.  Grants are awarded from the Foundation’s Touch Tomorrow Funds.

Outside the Walls was awarded a grant for $3,375.00 to build wheelchair ramps in order to provide a safe way for elderly and disabled resident to enter and exit their homes.

The Dulcimer Homecoming Retreat will be making its way back to Washington County in 2025 thanks to a $1,100.00 grant.

Get ready for fun at the Pekin Fourth of July Celebration!  The Pekin Community Betterment Organization was awarded a $4,750.00 grant to assist with carnival rides at the festival. 

Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $5,500.00 grant to assist with Personal Protection Equipment for the volunteer firefighters.  The equipment protects them from toxic and hazardous materials during fires.

Several students at East Washington Elementary School will be getting new backpacks and water bottles to kick off the new school year.  A $1,060.93 grant will be used to purchase those items for their back to school event.

Students in all county schools will be learning about Financial Literacy from Junior Achievement due to a $2,500.00 grant to the organization.  Students will be visiting Biz Town and Finance Park in addition to the lessons they’ll be learning.

Free family fun across the county will be available throughout the year thanks to a $14,500.00 grant to the Washington County Family YMCA for substance free alternative events. Look for the events on social media so you can be sure to sign up.

The Home Stretch Foundation, a new nonprofit in Washington County, has been awarded a $6,000.00 grant to support their mission of being a catalyst that paves a smooth transition to successful adulthood for at-risk youth.

A new entertainment platform will be the newest addition at Becks Mill.  They were awarded a $4,500.00 grant to aid in the construction of the platform.

Thank you to the donors of Washington County Community Foundation for making our community a better place for our residents through their generosity and compassion for Washington County.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever


How to Find a Doctor

Can you recommend any resources to help me locate doctors in my area? I am looking for an orthopedic doctor for my elderly parent and a new internist for myself.

Finding and researching doctors is easier than it used to be. Today, there are a variety of websites you can turn to that provide databases of U.S. doctors, their professional medical histories, and ratings and reviews from past patients on several criteria. Here are some good tips to help you find the right doctors.

Searching Tips

To help you locate doctors in your area, the first step is to get referrals from trusted friends, or any doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals you know. You should also check with your insurance provider. Your insurance provider can provide you with a list of approved doctors or confirm whether the doctor you are considering is in-network.

If your parent is enrolled in original Medicare, you can use the care compare tool at Medicare.gov/care-compare – and click on “Doctors & Clinicians.” This will let you find doctors by name, medical specialty or geographic location who accept original Medicare. If your parent is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, call or visit the plan website to get a list of approved candidates. Once you find a few doctors, you should call their office to verify that they accept your insurance and are accepting new patients.

You should also consider hospital affiliation. Your choice of doctor can determine which hospital you visit, if needed, so find out where the doctor has admitting privileges. Then, use hospital ratings services like Medicare.gov/care-compare (click on “Hospitals”) to see how it compares with other hospitals in the area.

Researching Doctors

If you find a doctor that you are interested in, there are various websites you can consult with to help you evaluate them. For example, some medical organizations may offer tools that list a doctor’s board certifications, educational background, active state licenses and whether or not they have been disciplined by a state medical board.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is also a good source for researching doctors. The CMS website has a tool to help determine how many times a doctor has performed a particular procedure and their prices. To find this tool, go to Data.CMS.gov/tools and click on “Medicare Physician & Other Practitioner Look-up Tool.” To learn about the financial relationship that doctors have with drug and medical device companies, visit OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov.

Physician rating websites also offer an online database of doctors, dentists and hospitals. These websites provide information on education and training, hospital affiliations, board certification, awards and recognitions, professional misconduct, disciplinary action, office locations and accepted insurance plans.

Some websites may also offer rating scales from past patients on issues such as communication and listening skills, wait time, time spent with the patient, office friendliness and more. However, keep in mind that while physician rating websites can be helpful, they can also be misleading and unreliable.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 17, 2024

Home Energy Improvements in 2024

In IR-2024-137 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) encouraged taxpayers to make updates to their home to qualify for home energy credits. The credits were significantly expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Most of the credits apply to homeowners, but renters may also be eligible for some credits. The credits are generally in two main categories. There are credits for energy-efficient improvements to your home after January 1, 2023. Other credits apply to improvements such as solar panels, wind turbines or battery storage.

  1. Home Energy Improvements — Qualified home improvements made after January 1, 2023, may produce a 30% credit, with a maximum amount of $3,200. These improvements include qualified doors, efficient windows and skylights. Upgraded insulation and efficient water heaters, furnaces and heat pumps may also qualify. The maximum credit per year is $1,200 for home improvements, with a limit of $250 per door (with a maximum of $500) or $600 for windows. The limit for a heat pump, biomass stove or boiler is $2,000 per year. This credit is not refundable and may not be carried forward to future years.
  2. Clean Energy Credit — A more comprehensive credit is available for energy improvements for your home. These could include solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal, fuel cells or battery storage. The Residential Clean Energy Credit is 30% of new qualified energy property. This usually includes solar panels, panels connected to a solar water heater, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells or battery storage technology. The water heater must be certified by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation. A geothermal heat pump must meet Energy Star requirements. New batteries must have a capacity of at least 3 kilowatt hours. The clean energy credit has no dollar limit and may be used for eligible items installed in 2023 through 2032. The credit is not refundable, but unused credit amounts may be carried forward to future years.

The IRS emphasizes that it is important to keep good records. For most individuals, the credit will apply to solar panels and battery storage. For the home credit, you may read IRS Publication 5967, Energy Efficient Home Improvements Credit for more information. If you are installing solar panels, battery storage or other energy improvements, you should review Publication 5968, Residential Clean Energy Credit for details.

Editor's Note: In many states, there has been a substantial increase in the cost of electricity each year. Energy efficient improvements to homes become more valuable each year. The cost for solar panels and batteries is often measured through a payback period of years. With reduced electricity and natural gas costs, homeowners also should consider the increased home value with these energy improvements, which may cover most or all the energy improvement costs.


Published May 10, 2024

Finding Affordable Internet Services

The Affordable Connectivity Program, which subsidizes my monthly internet bill, is about to end. What are my options for finding affordable home internet services?

Without additional funding from Congress, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is winding down and will end in mid-May. The ACP is a government subsidy that has provided millions of eligible households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward home internet service. The benefit also provides up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.

The ACP was initially born in 2021 out of a pandemic-era program called the Emergency Broadband Benefit. It was replaced six months later by the longer-term ACP when Congress devoted $14.2 billion to the program as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

More than 23 million households are currently enrolled in the ACP which has significantly helped close the digital divide, as affordability has been the primary barrier that has kept most ACP beneficiaries from obtaining home internet services. But funds are almost exhausted, and lawmakers have not provided additional funding for the program at this time.­­­

What to Do Now?

A first step in securing affordable home internet services is to contact your current provider to find out if they offer any other discounts or low-cost services that fit your budget. If none are available, it is best to explore other providers. There may be nonprofit organizations that can help you find low-income discounted internet services from providers in your area.

Some cities and states are also offering their own subsidies to help low-income households pay for internet services. The best way to find these programs is searching online for internet resources in your area.  

Check Lifeline Benefit

If you have not already done so, you should determine if you are eligible for the Lifeline program. Unlike the ACP, Lifeline is a permanently funded federal assistance program that provides a $9.25 monthly subsidy that can help pay for home internet, phone or bundled services (up to $34.25 if you live on Tribal lands). Only one benefit is available per household.

To qualify, your annual household income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, which is $20,331 for one person or $27,594 for two in 2024. You may also qualify if you, or someone in your household, receive certain types of government benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), public housing assistance, veterans' pension or survivors pension benefit or live on federally recognized Tribal lands.

You may apply for Lifeline online at LifelineSupport.org, via mail or through your internet or phone provider. If you need additional assistance or have questions about the process, call the support line at 800-234-9473.

Other Options

If you find that you are not eligible for any assistance programs, you may still be able to save on your internet costs by shopping and comparing. The best way to do this is to search online for a list of internet providers in your area, along with pricing and download speeds. Most providers offer plans under $50 monthly, and you may receive additional discounts for bundling with a cellphone plan or signing an annual contract. 

Another way to save some money is to buy your own equipment. Most internet service providers charge around $15 per month to rent a modem and router. However, you may purchase your own for less than $200, which will likely pay for itself within the first year.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.


Published May 10, 2024

Prepare Natural Disasters


On May 1, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminded taxpayers that soon it will be prime season for natural disasters. The National Wildfire Awareness Month is May and National Hurricane Preparedness Week starts May 5, 2024.

All individuals should use this time before the natural disaster season to protect your important tax and financial information. While major disasters normally occur during the summer months, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already issued 25 Federal disaster declarations for winter storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and landslides in 2024.

There are several helpful tips to protect your personal financial and tax information. Additional information is also available on IRS.gov or FEMA.gov.

  1. Protect Important Documents — Your original documents may include tax returns, Social Security cards, marriage certificates, birth certificates and deeds to real property. These should be secured in a waterproof and fireproof container in a safe location. You also may want to make copies of important documents and protect them in a safe deposit box or send them to a trusted person in a different secure location.
  2. Record of Valuables — With the ease of taking pictures or videos with the camera on your cell phone, you should have a record of your high-value items. These photos or videos will be important if you lose the items in a natural disaster. Your insurance company may be willing to pay a substantial value if you have a good record. Some insurance policies require items with high values to be specifically named in the policy prior to an incident. The IRS also offers Publication 584, Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook, which can be very helpful to you if you have a loss due to a natural disaster.
  3. Rebuild Your Records — After any disaster, you may have a challenge in reconstructing or rebuilding your records. These records could be essential for receiving a federal grant or an insurance company payment. If you can accurately estimate your loss through records, the insurance adjuster will be able to justify the payments. The IRS has a Reconstructing Records webpage on IRS.gov that may be helpful.
  4. Employer Fiduciary Bond — If you are an employer, you may have a problem with a payroll service provider. Your payroll service provider is obligated to make timely federal tax payments. There should be a fiduciary bond that protects you as an employer if your payroll service provider is in a natural disaster and defaults.
  5. IRS Tax Relief — If FEMA declares a federal disaster zone, the IRS frequently postpones tax filing and payment deadlines for individuals and businesses located in that geographic area. If you are within the disaster area, you will not need to contact the IRS. The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers with a business or personal address in the covered disaster area. If you reside outside the covered disaster area but have been impacted by the disaster, you may call 866-562-5227 to determine whether you qualify for relief.

Editor's Note: The summer months are a prime time for hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. This IRS guide is helpful to make sure you are prepared for a disaster. Many natural disasters occur without warning, so your preparations now may be essential for receiving a prompt government grant or insurance payment.


Published May 3, 2024

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