National Preparedness Month: Updates Regarding Flooding and Disasters

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 1:37 pm EDT
Lara Kalwinski

Government, charities, and businesses are stepping up to respond to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose. In the last week, a flood of new or updated resources were released just in time for National Preparedness Month. Here are some that the Council on Foundations is using to work with our members.

Get IRS Help

In the case of a federally-declared disaster, an affected taxpayer can call 866-562-5227 to speak with an IRS specialist trained to handle disaster-related issues.

Back copies of previously-filed tax returns and all attachments, including Forms W-2, can be requested by filing Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Alternatively, transcripts showing most line items on these returns can be ordered through the Get Transcript link on, by calling 800-908-9946 or by using Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript, or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit .

General Information, Direct Links:

Disaster Specific Information:

Additional Resources

Protect Against Scams

Community foundations – now is a great time to remind state charities officials, donors, community partners, and grantees that you participate in the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® accreditation program. You’ve had third party vetting of your policies and procedures and can be trusted with community funds. Prove your accreditation by using the locator.

Federal and state officials are warning residents, volunteers and officials in flood zones in Texas and Louisiana they could be targeted by storm-related scams, contract corruption, document fraud, identify theft and other crimes. They emphasize that the easy availability of personal information and documents on the internet has widened criminal activities and potential victims to anywhere in the U.S.

“Protect yourself and your wallet from unscrupulous operators,” warned a new flyer by the Texas attorney general, whose office had received nearly 700 complaints by late Wednesday. Most alleged price gouging but a few reported fraud, said Kayleigh Lovvorn, a spokeswoman for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Employer Leave-Based Donations Update from the IRS

Employees who forgo vacation, sick, or personal time in exchange for money sent to charities assisting with Harvey relief efforts won't see the value of their donations in gross income, the IRS said. The Internal Revenue Service on Sept. 5 announced special relief for leave-donation programs, which allow employers to make cash donations on behalf of employees who give up their paid leave time. According to Notice 2017-48, the leave donations won't constitute gross income or wages for the employees if employers send the money to charitable organizations described under tax code Section 170(c), and payment is made before Jan. 1, 2019. The employer can deduct the payments under Section 170 rather than Section 162, the IRS said. This special relief for victims of the powerful storm that struck Texas and Louisiana is similar to programs available following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, and other natural disasters, the IRS said in a news release (IR-2017-143).

Considerations for DREAMERS Given DACA Changes During the Emergencies

Always remember, a disaster isn’t something we can predict. Now is a good time for all foundations to review their emergency plans.

  • Create electronic copies of key documents using IRS guidance
  • Document Valuables using Publication 584
  • Check on Fiduciary Bonds
  • Update your emergency plan if employees have been hired, changed functions
  • Remind your employees that you have a policy and where to find it
  • Practice your emergency plan
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Disaster Grantmaking