Disaster Loss Deductions

About Casualty Deduction For Federal Income Tax

B cannot deduct a casualty loss under Sec. 165 because its loss was compensated by insurance. However, B properly reduces its basis in the property by the amount of the insurance proceeds. B’s basis in the property after the receipt of the insurance payment of $50,000 and the amount paid to the contractor remains $500,000. In December, you suffered a personal loss of $5,000 and expected to receive $3,000 from your insurance company. However, due to the application of the $100-plus-10 percent rule, you were unable to deduct any of your loss. If, in in the next year, you actually receive $5,000 from the insurance company, you don’t have to declare any of it as income. This results because you didn’t deduct any loss and the insurance payment does not exceed the actual amount of the loss.

Are casualty losses deductible in 2021?

Casualty losses are deductible in the year you sustain the loss, which is generally in the year the casualty occurred. You have not sustained a loss if you have a reasonable prospect of recovery through a claim for reimbursement.

If you meet the qualifications, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of your gain ($500,000 if married filing jointly) from your income. Major disaster declarations — For an emergency to be declared a major disaster, the president must determine the event has caused damage so severe that the state or local governments wouldn’t be able to respond. FEMA oversees the process for declaring a federal disaster area. It starts with an affected state or tribal government asking FEMA to conduct a preliminary damage assessment. Certain tribal governments can also request a declaration directly from the president. It’s important to understand what constitutes a casualty loss and what doesn’t. Any insurance proceeds, salvage value or other compensation received.

Personal Casualty Losses Now Only Deductible in Federal Disaster Areas

This also includes societal disturbances such as riots. If your property is a business or income-producing property and is completely destroyed, the amount of your loss is your adjusted basis.

About Casualty Deduction For Federal Income Tax

During the earthquake, the car, worth $15,000 is swallowed by a fissure that opens in the ground, and the house foundation sustains $30,000 worth of damage. At the same time, a thief takes advantage of the confusion and mayhem during the disaster to steal Mrs. Jones’s diamond necklace worth $5,000 from the house.

Missed the tax deadline? Here’s what you should do

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You can choose to deduct the loss on your return for the year the loss occurred or on an amended return for the immediately preceding tax year. Claiming a disaster loss on the prior year’s return may result in a lower tax for that year, often producing a refund. If your total deductions are less than the standard deduction, you shouldn’t itemize. This means you won’t be able to claim the casualty and theft losses deduction. If you have a qualified disaster loss, though, you may be able to deduct it without itemizing.

Reporting your casualty deduction

But there are now restrictions that make these deductions harder to take. For losses of trade or business property, or property used to produce rentals or royalties, once you’ve calculated the amount of your loss and subtracted the amount of your reimbursement, the remainder is your deductible loss . For losses of income-producing property that is not described above , your casualty losses are added to your itemized miscellaneous deductions. If your losses were very large, and exceed your income for the year, you may have a net operating loss for the year. You can use an NOL to lower your taxes for a previous year, allowing you to get a tax refund for the earlier year. Adjusted basis is a measure of your investment in the property. For property you purchase, your basis is generally its purchase price.

  • This limitation applies only to losses sustained under Sec. 165.
  • Once you determine your actual loss, you must then reduce it by $100.
  • Free In-person Audit Support is available only for clients who purchase and use H&R Block desktop software solutions to prepare and successfully file their 2021 individual income tax return .
  • We will replace lost or damaged California tax returns at no charge to disaster victims.

The article below is accurate for your 2017 taxes, the one that you file this year by theApril 2018 deadline, including a fewretroactive changesdue to the passing of tax reform. Some tax information below will change next year for your 2018 taxes, but won’t impact you this year. Learn more about tax reformhere. This article discusses the history of the deduction of business meal https://turbo-tax.org/ expenses and the new rules under the TCJA and the regulations and provides a framework for documenting and substantiating the deduction. Therefore, B must treat the amount paid as an improvement to the building unit of property and capitalize the amount paid. Daisy Tandy, an avid car collector, purchased a 1948 Packard convertible in poor condition at a garage sale for $1,000.


The taxpayer filed a suit against the insurance carrier in 1969 that was settled in 1972. The IRS asserted in its notice of deficiency that the taxpayer’s repair and replacement expenses were not deductible prior to 1972, the year in which the taxpayer’s suit with the insurance carrier was resolved. The court was asked to decide whether a deduction was allowable under Sec. 162 or Sec. Since the taxpayer has an outstanding claim at the close of 2017, he has a reasonable prospect of recovering the remaining amount of the loss. Therefore, no deduction is allowed for this portion of the loss in 2017 since the taxpayer may receive compensation for the damage to the residence. If the taxpayer’s suit against the neighbor is dismissed in 2019, the taxpayer may claim the casualty loss of $20,000 in the 2019 tax year (decreased by 10% of the taxpayer’s AGI and $100). For thefts or casualties of personal or family property, your deductible loss is much more strictly limited.

However, expenditures that result in an improvement to the property must be capitalized. Casualty losses must generally be deducted in the tax year in which the loss event occurred. However, if you suffered a loss in a presidentially declared federal disaster area, you may deduct your loss in the preceding year.


The aftermath of unexpected natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria can be devastating in many ways, impacting individuals, families and communities for years to come. While recovery efforts can take quite a bit of time, there are some immediate steps affected families can take now to try to recover their economic losses. This includes claiming a casualty loss deduction on their federal income tax return. If you suffered damage to your home or personal property last year, you may be able to deduct these “casualty” losses on your 2016 federal income tax return.

Approval and loan amount based on expected refund amount, eligibility criteria, and underwriting. If approved, funds will be loaded on a prepaid card and the loan amount will be deducted from your tax refund, reducing About Casualty Deduction For Federal Income Tax the amount paid directly to you. Tax returns may be e-filed without applying for this loan. Fees for other optional products or product features may apply. Limited time offer at participating locations.

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