Texas CPA Society, Florida Lawmakers Call for Hurricane Tax Relief

The 2005 hurricane season may be over but the call for tax relief and assistance for those affected by this season’s storms is still in full swing. In fact, it seems to be gaining momentum.

The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) has asked Congress to pass legislation extending the tax relief given to those affected by Hurricane Katrina to the victims of subsequent storms, especially Hurricanes Rita, which devastated East Texas, and Wilma, which destroyed parts of Florida. As part of that effort, TSCPA leaders sent a letter to Texas’ congressional delegation in support of Senate Bill 2020, otherwise known as the Tax Relief Act of 2005, which would provide much-needed tax relief to affected Texans and Floridians.

Members of the TSCPA are not the only ones pushing for hurricane tax relief. Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, called the Florida Legislature back for a five-day special session beginning Monday, where lawmakers hope to enact a variety of measures giving financial relief to hurricane victims, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“We have municipalities across South Florida that are really hurting,” House Democratic Leader Chris Smith, (D-Ft. Lauderdale) told the Sentinel. “They’re spending their reserves to clean up streets and doing things that, eventually, [the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)] will reimburse. But by the time FEMA helps, our cities will have trouble making payrolls and paying bills.”

On the other side of the aisle, State Representative Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, has sponsored two tax relief bills and tells the Sentinel “We should not be placing this additional tax burden on those who have already been hurt [by the hurricane].”

For more information about the federal tax relief currently available to taxpayers affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, see the “Help for Hurricane Victims” section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) web site.

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