Posted by Tiffany Gaskin

Essential Things You Need to Know About Natural Disaster & Taxes

Essential Things You Need to Know About Natural Disaster & Taxes

We hardly hope for a natural disaster, but they come and strike us many times. This results in a series of disasters alongside the destruction of life and properties. For victims of such, an idea of the tax code can cushion some of the issues and help provide financial relief.

 

Federal Disaster gives Casualty Loss Deductions. 

For people with entirely or partially destroyed property in a sudden, unplanned, or unusual event, such a person might qualify for casualty loss deduction. Provided you meet the specified conditions, one can deduct the loss in the year it occurred. 

For instance, there was lightning that hit your store on Monday, 8th March 2021. This is a casualty loss, so you can claim the deductions as long as you meet other qualifications on your 2021 tax return that will be due in April the following year. 

Suppose your loss was part of a bigger disaster like a Tsunami, flooding, mud sliding or hurricane, in a region that has been declared as a federal disaster area. In that case, it is possible to claim such a deduction on the previous year's tax return.

For this special tax treatment to be activated, POTUS must declare that such an area qualifies for federal assistance. 

People that have sustained losses need to check the listing of places declared as a federal disaster zone. People in those areas qualify for some financial relief in addition to tax relief.

Anyone located in such a disaster zone will have to amend their previous year's tax return to claim the current year's loss since it occurred last year. Such an amendment might generate a tax refund which you could get in a couple of weeks. On the other hand, depending on the timing of the disaster, it might take up to a year before filing the current year's tax return.


Determine Your Losses 

To claim the casualty losses on the current year's tax return or the one for an amended year, it is essential to establish the loss amount. Before you do this, it is essential to:

  • Highlight your entire properties destroyed or damaged

  • Establish the actual cost for the items

  • Establish the property’s fair market value before the disaster 

  • Determine the value of the property after the disaster

  • Estimate the insurance amount you have gotten or you expect to get. 

Taxpayers can use Publication 584-B, which is the Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook, to record their properties and assets in different categories. The record is structured to include building components as well as office supplies.


Don't Be Caught Unaware. 

It is not a good idea not to know what you have, especially for a business owner. As a result, a good inventory of your property is essential to making a complete and timely insurance claim. It will also help support the casualty losses claimed on your return. For people that do not need to file an insurance claim or claim casualty loss, your inventory will go a long way in reminding you about business expenses.


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Tiffany Gaskin
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