Under pressure, the Internal Revenue Service has updated Publication 3920, Tax Relief for Victims of Terrorist Attacks, to help disabled 9/11 responders, survivors, and the families of those who have died to apply for the tax relief to which they are entitled.
Under the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief law, disability or other benefits paid to 9/11 first responders and survivors are not taxable, and, in addition, the estates of those who died from injuries related to September 11 rescue and recovery duties are entitled to an income tax refund of at least $10,000, according to a news release from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office.Earlier this year, the IRS acknowledged that the little-known tax breaks were still available, but delays in updating IRS publications left people uncertain about whether they were covered and how to apply for the tax break, according to 9/11 Health Watch, an independent watch dog group. The provisions apply to responders and survivors at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the sponsors of the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, had pressed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for quick action so that eligible taxpayers would be able to claim the benefits. The recent IRS update includes clear examples of those the law applies to and gives a toll-free phone number for the unit that can answer questions (1.866.562.5227). Victims have to file for refunds within three years of a diagnosis, and families of those who died must file within three years of the date of death, according to the New York Daily News.
In a press release, 9/11 Health Watch praised Sen. Gillibrand for a “big win” for the ill and injured and their families.