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Sen. Cortez Masto introduces natural disaster legislation

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) is receiving bipartisan support for legislation to provide relief for impacted taxpayers in states that have issued state-level disaster declarations.

Cortez Masto introduced the bipartisan legislation with Senators John Kennedy (R-La.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

As stated in a news release from Cortez’s office, Nevada has declared state-level emergencies for both the Tamarack and the Caldor fires, which have displaced thousands of Nevada families, pulled significant resources from Nevada’s firefighters, and impacted Nevada’s economy.

Earlier this month, Pahrump firefighters provided support to northern Nevada fire crews battling the Caldor fire.

Extension of tax filing deadline

The Filing Relief for Natural Disasters Act, would allow the governor of a state or territory to extend a federal tax filing deadline in the event of a state-declared emergency or disaster, which happens automatically for federally-declared disasters, the release stated.

“Extending the authority to states gives them the ability to provide relief independent of the federal government’s involvement in an emergency or natural disaster,” according to the release. “Also, the legislation would expand the mandatory federal filing extension from 60 days to 120 days. This bill is supported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.”

Under current law, according to the release, Nevadans are not eligible for any tax relief for state disaster declarations.

At present, the IRS has the authority to postpone filing deadlines in the event of a presidentially-declared federal disaster, but the deadlines do not extend to state-level emergencies.

Fair treatment

Cortez Masto’s legislation would ensure that Nevada and all states are treated fairly and get the support they need to recover from wildfires and other natural disasters, including floods where back in late July, Pahrump received an extraordinary amount of wind and rainfall in a short amount of time.

The winds and deluge damaged many homes, businesses and roadways throughout the valley.

“Nevadans shouldn’t be denied tax relief after experiencing wildfires just because the state doesn’t receive a federally recognized disaster declaration,” Cortez Masto said. “Nevadans across the state have been affected by major wildfires in the west, and my legislation would ensure that any taxpayer feeling the impact of a natural disaster can access vital tax relief so our communities are able to recover.”

Bipartisan support

Senator Kennedy, meanwhile noted that citizens in his state of Louisiana have been hit with all the storms nature has to offer.

“We need all the help we can get to recover, and that includes extensions for filing taxes,” Kennedy said. “Since Louisiana can’t always rely on Washington to get us the relief we need when we need it, this bill would make sure that Louisianians get the tax extensions necessary for rebuilding after our state declares a natural disaster. I’m thankful to partner with Sen. Cortez Masto on this effort.”

At the same time, Senator Van Hollen noted that when disaster strikes, Marylanders need immediate financial flexibility to rebuild and recover.

“This legislation will help ensure that even when a federal disaster has not been declared, “I’ll be working with my colleagues to pass this common-sense, bipartisan bill.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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