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Many 9/11 Responders Left Unaware of Tax Breaks

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Victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families are eligible for big tax breaks – there’s only one problem. Many have no idea because the IRS isn’t informing them about the benefit.

Three months after the attacks, the U.S. government passed a law that deemed disability income resulting from terrorism as non-taxable.

That means thousands of first responders sickened after performing rescue efforts at the site, as well as the families of those who’ve died, can claim $10,000, or the last three years of taxes the victim paid, whichever amount is larger, the New York Daily News reported.

The problem is the IRS never updated its public guidance to inform the public of the benefit. This left individuals, tax preparers and even tax firms unaware about the new rule.

One ailing former first responder told the Daily News that his tax preparer, after failing to find any agency information on the tax break, never requested the refund for his client.

It appears that even some of the operators at the agency’s hotline aren’t fully trained on the tax breaks.

Retired NYPD officer Chris Gifford, who is battling kidney cancer linked to his time spent manning a post by Ground Zero, told the Daily News a hotline operator this spring told him she couldn’t give out that information or help him seek the refund.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand thought things were improving in April when IRS head John Koskinen told her the agency would update its guidance. However, three months later, no such update has been made.

Gillibrand’s said her office is assisting refund seekers who have been shunned by the IRS and is pushing for quicker action. Two victims said they received their tax breaks only after Gillibrand’s office intervened when the IRS initially rejected their refund claims. Gillibrand said she once again spoke on the phone with Koskinen on Friday and that he promised immediate action to address the issue, the New York Daily News reported.

The fact that it has taken this long for details of the tax break to come to the surface is viewed as completely unacceptable to many.

“The IRS needs to update their publications as soon as possible or disabled 9/11 responders and survivors will lose another year of this tax relief, as will the families of those who died from their 9/11 injury,” Ben Chevat, who heads 9/11 Healthwatch, a nonprofit monitoring benefit programs for attack victims told the New York Daily News.

breakinglawsuitnews.com disclaimer: This article: Many 9/11 Responders Left Unaware of Tax Breaks was posted on Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 4:07 pm at breakinglawsuitnews.com and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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