Local News

NC Storm Victims Granted Tax Extension

Posted Updated

RALEIGH — This is a really tough time for some people in our state who've been hit hard by taxes, and by the worst weather nature can serve up. So North Carolina has worked out a disaster tax relief deal with the victims of last month's severe weather.

It turns out many of them are paying for repairs, and passing on the offer of tax help.

First tornadoes, now the taxman. Amid hammers and nails and people scrambling to repair roofs, folks have been putting pen to paper, taking care of some taxing business.

"We were sitting down reading them while everybody was in and out of the house," says storm survivor, Cynthia Dixon. "(We were) trying to make sure they were correct before we turned them in."

And on Dixon's street where nearly everyone was touched in some way by the severe weather, nearly everyone beat the filing deadline. They wouldn't have it any other way.

Marsha Barefoot says she's never late for anything, not even church. All of the homeowners here were eligible to file late, and if they owed state taxes, were given a six-month interest-free grace period.

People in six counties damaged by storms and floods had the same deal. And despite the expense of repairs coupled with a debt to Uncle Sam, they still wrote checks.

"It is a carryover from either '97 or '98," says tax filer, Jack Stanley. "So we elected to take it next year, rather than having to redo the taxes."

People here say the tornado-taxman double whammy is tough, but not as tough as what others are facing. Their thoughts go out to people in Alabama and Georgia who lost everything.

And as they all work to get things right again, they're still smiling. We're grateful to have what we have, and be able to pay taxes too, I suppose (laughs).

Here's where the relief deal gets a little technical. If you suffered uninsured casualty losses during the storm, you can claim them as itemized deductions on your 1997 or 1998 state tax returns.