IRS Holds Town Hall Meetings To Discuss Hurricane Recovery Reimbursements

BILOXI (WLOX) -- It's a town hall meeting where the language spoken is all about the numbers.

"We have some taxpayers who didn't receive the full benefit of claiming the casualty loss," an IRS official told the crowd at the Gulf Coast Business Technology Center in Biloxi.

This is one of three town hall meetings the Internal Revenue Service held in South Mississippi.   Even for an IRS spokesperson, knowing how to account for money taxpayers receive from state and federal grant and loan programs can sound daunting.

"How to apply the federal tax laws to their individual situation," says IRS Spokesperson Dee Harris. "That is why it can be confusing, because there are so many variables. Every person's situation is different."

People who've received some of the $1.4 billion from the Mississippi Development Authority's Homeowner Grant Program are a target audience for this kind of information.

"We're trying to get this guidance out to people," says Harris. "So for those people who've already gotten their money, they know how to handle it, and for those who are still waiting to receive their reimbursement, they'll know what to do when it is received."

But Harris says there are many others with different questions.

"People have insurance reimbursements. Was it homeowners insurance, was it flood insurance? Is it for contents or for structure. Are they receiving FEMA elevation grants?"

The IRS has a section of their website dedicated to helping Hurricane Katrina victims with their tax questions. To learn more, click here, or call 1-866-562-5227.