Most Derailment Payments, Reimbursements Declared Tax Exempt

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – More than a month and a half after 2023 taxes were due, East Palestine area residents finally got the answer to their tax question.

They do not have to pay taxes on most of the payments and reimbursements received following the Norfolk Southern train derailment in the village, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The IRS and Treasury Department have declared the Feb. 3, 2023, derailment was “catastrophic in nature,” and that qualified the payments to be considered “disaster relief” and exempt from taxable income.

Brown has repeatedly stated the assistance money should have been exempt, but when East Palestine residents filed their taxes, no decision had been made. Included assistance in the exemption are the inconvenience payments from Norfolk Southern, along with reimbursements for relocation, home repairs, medical expenses and costs associated with replacing clothes and household items.

“We took on the IRS and now East Palestine residents will not have to pay tax on assistance they received from Norfolk Southern,” Brown said. “This is a long overdue step – the people of East Palestine should never have had to pay taxes on assistance they needed in the wake of the derailment.”

Pictured at top: A sign is seen at the edge of East Palestine on Jan. 29, 2024. (AP Photo | Carolyn Kaster)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.