Casey Urges IRS to Exempt Victims of the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment From Being Taxed on Reimbursements

FILE – (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Danny Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging them to recognize the Norfolk Southern derailment as “of a catastrophic nature” and exempt families from being taxed on reimbursements for reasonable post-disaster necessities, such as shelter, food, and clothing. This letter follows Senator Casey’s questioning of Werfel during an April 16 Senate Committee on Finance hearing where Casey secured a commitment from Commissioner Werfel that the IRS will do everything in its power to deliver tax relief to victims of this disaster.

Impacted individuals and families faced great hardships and disruption during this period and were forced to deal with sudden unexpected evacuations and school closures with little access to their belongings or homes…The Pennsylvania victims of this disaster should not be forced to pay tax on reimbursements for the hardship they endured and the losses they suffered. These payments were not income, and the Treasury and IRS should use their authority and not recognize them as such,” wrote Senator Casey.

Since the Norfolk Southern train derailment in February 2023, Senator Casey has been fighting relentlessly to ensure victims of the disaster receive the resources, reimbursement, and support they need to recover. On numerous occasions, Casey has pressed Norfolk Southern to meet its obligation to compensate the residents of Darlington and play a significant role in the clean-up and damage remediation process. He has also pushed the federal government to hold Norfolk Southern accountable to that obligation. In total, Casey has pushed Norfolk Southern to provide $1.2 million in funding for Darlington Township.

Senator Casey has also led efforts to protect the health of Darlington residents. He has repeatedly pushed for the federal government to devote significant resources to expand access to clean public drinking water and increase health assistance and monitoring in the region.

Casey has also made preventing future derailments a major legislative focus in the wake of the Darlington derailment. In March 2023, he introduced the bipartisan Railway Safety Act, which would take key steps to improve rail safety protocols and reduce the possibility of derailments. In May 2023, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed a version of the legislation on a 16-11 vote. This bill also included provisions based on Casey’s Assistance for Local Heroes During Train Crises Act to set aside funds—paid for by companies that ship and carry hazardous materials—to provide emergency responders, firefighters, and law enforcement with the financial resources needed to replace equipment, pay workers overtime, and address other urgent costs in the event of a serious derailment. Casey has also repeatedly pushed the Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern to take steps to strengthen safety protocols and decrease the likelihood of future derailments.


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