- Days left

Claiming Tax Deductions for Weather Damage

Home damaged by weatherDid your roof collapse under the heavy weight of the snow? Did lightning strike your guest house? You probably know that insurance can protect your home and possessions during damaging weather (which we've had a lot of this year), but did you know that you may claim tax deductions for weather damage?

Here are some key points that came out of a recent conversation with the IRS.Weather-Related Damages Must Meet the Definition of a Casualty Loss

As long as the weather-related damage meets the definition of a casualty loss -- which is something that happens suddenly and unexpectedly as opposed to something that happens gradually -- you can take the deduction. In other words, a roof that collapses because of heavy snow would meet the definition of a casualty; slow, gradual water seepage in a basement would not.

Determine the Loss Amount

Here's where it can get complicated. You have to know the Fair Market Value of your property before and immediately after the casualty (what a willing buyer would pay for it) as well as the Adjusted Cost Basis (property cost plus capital improvements, minus depreciation and other factors). Take whichever amount is lower, subtract insurance or other reimbursements received or expected to be received. Then subtract another $100 for each casualty that occurred during the year (the $100 rule, per IRS) and reduce the loss again by 10% of your adjusted gross income.

File Form 4684

Report the loss on Form 4684 (You can download this from irs.gov), and take it as an itemized deduction on your Schedule A. The IRS tells me that you do not have to provide any additional documentation -- such as photos or videos of the storm-induced damage -- but that you should always have this information filed away for backup purposes.

Take the Loss in the Year the Casualty Occurred

Casualty losses are deductible in the year in which they occurred -- unless the loss happens in a federally declared disaster area. In which case, you can elect to take the loss in the preceding year, submitting an amended return if you've already filed.

Search Homes for Sale
See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Are Losses on a Roth IRA Tax Deductible?

When the value of your investments in a Roth IRA (Roth Individual Retirement Account) decreases, you might wonder if there is a way to write off those losses on your federal income tax return. Find out what you can and can't write off when it comes to your Roth IRA.

Video: Save Taxes by Saving Energy

Note: The content of this video applies only to taxes prepared for 2010. It is included here for reference only. From basements to attics, the federal government wants homeowners to save energy year-round. They're even willing to pitch in with tax credits for energy-efficient improvements.

Video: Making Work Pay Tax Credit 2009

Note: The content of this video applies only to taxes prepared for 2009 and 2010. It is included here for reference only. Most Americans enjoyed an instant tax break last year thanks to the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. But some may face an unexpected tax bill in April.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

1 Comment

Filter by:
cxw2012neusoft@163.com

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

May 22 2012 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply