April 17 is the deadline to file your federal income tax return.

Here in the Coastal Bend, because of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, you may be able to reduce your tax obligation if you had significant property damage.

"Because we're considered a federal disaster area, there are special rules for our area," Professor Adolfino Palacias said. "If there was a loss that you incurred with your home or personal goods or your vehicle, then you're entitled to special reductions with certain limitations."

Palacias is a professor at Del Mar College and runs the VITA program, which helps people prepare their income tax returns for free. He said any losses you suffered because of the hurricane can be applied to different year's returns.

"Because of the federal disaster designation, you're allowed to take it back to your 2016 return," Palacias said. "So whoever's doing your tax return can figure out what's better for you as an individual."

If you're looking for help to get your returns completed, Palacias recommends free services like VITA to get them done.

"You'll need your identification, Social Security card, Social Security cards for your children, dependents that you're claiming, and of course your income -- your W2's and your 1099's. Any interest income," Palacias said.

Palacias said the new tax law changes passed in December do not apply yet.

"Most of it is not effective until 2018 tax returns. There are some major things coming down the road," Palacias said. "Tax preparers are still analyzing that, so whoever's doing their tax return probably needs to ask their tax preparer how they'll be affected."

For information on times and places for free tax preparation, click here.

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