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Tax Tips Forum For Tornado Survivors To Be Held In Moore

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Insurance Commissioner John Doak says in the several months that have passed since record-breaking tornadoes swept through our state, hundreds are still dealing with insurance claims. Insurance Commissioner John Doak says in the several months that have passed since record-breaking tornadoes swept through our state, hundreds are still dealing with insurance claims.
MOORE, Oklahoma -

Tax season is now in full swing, but having all the right paperwork will be a challenge for many tornado victims who lost everything last year.

Insurance Commissioner John Doak says in the several months that have passed since record-breaking tornadoes swept through our state, hundreds are still dealing with insurance claims. So filing taxes is just another item on the list.

Like many of us, librarian Kelsey Williamson hasn't started her taxes.

"Not yet, I'm a little bit behind," said Williamson who works in the children's services department at Moore Public Library.

Williamson was born and raised in Moore and lived there up until last year on May 20, when her home, which was directly behind Plaza Towers Elementary School, was wiped out.

"So we didn't recover anything, we pretty much lost everything," she said

Including her papers to prepare her taxes.

It's one of many problems Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak says he often hears from storm victims.

"Which year am I going to be able to take the loss in, and can I get some reimbursement from that if it's an insured loss and if I have items that were not insured?" Doak said are some questions he dealt with recently.

That is why he is hosting a "Tax Tips for Tornado Survivors" forum at the Moore Public Library on Tuesday night.

"This is something consumers may have not been thinking of, like I lost all my paperwork, how does that apply or which form do I use?" Doak said.

"There are many forms, and it's good to have the professionals show up and answer these tough questions."

CPA Todd Pefferman of BKD Advisors in downtown Oklahoma City, will be at the forum to tackle any tricky tax topics, such as insurance reimbursements.

"If you received insurance reimbursements or payments from other organizations, whether those payments may be taxable to you or not, I know a lot of people are concerned with the receipts that they are getting and whether they have to pay tax on those," said Pefferman, who is also a Joplin-tornado survivor.

"Most receipts from disaster relief that people get are not taxable to them, but it's possible the insurance reimbursement that they get could be taxable if those proceeds aren't used for repairs or replacement items."

Pefferman said some people may be entitled to the income tax credit that Oklahoma gives tornado victims, so some could receive a refund of some income tax.

The event will be a relief for many storm survivors like Williamson, who need direction on how to file her taxes this year.

"Whenever you're thrown into that situation it's hard to know what steps to take and what kinds of things you're going to need," Williamson said.

"So it's nice to have people who can come in and answer those questions for us."

If weather permits, the "Tax Tips for Tornado Survivors" forum will be held at the Moore Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The forum is open to anyone affected by disaster last year, such as a tornado or a wildfire.

Moore Public Library asks you to register beforehand here.

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