A personal casualty loss is deductible (subject to limitations) only if such loss is attributable to a federally-declared disaster.
A federally-declared disaster is any disaster determined by the President of the United States to warrant assistance by the federal government. For areas that have been determined to be federally-declared disaster areas, go to www.fema.gov/disasters.
Exception: A personal casualty loss not attributable to a federally-declared disaster may offset a personal casualty gain.
To determine the deduction for a casualty or theft loss, first calculate the loss.
Amount of loss. Use the following steps to calculate the loss.
Business and income producing property. The decrease in FMV is not considered in calculating the loss for property that is stolen or completely destroyed.
$100 limit. Reduce each casualty or theft loss event by$100. If multiple pieces of property are damaged in a single event, a single $100 reduction applies.
10% AGI limit. Reduce the total of all casualty or theft losses by 10% of the taxpayer’s AGI. Apply this limit after reducing each loss event by $100.
Qualified disaster losses. Qualified disaster losses are personal casualty losses resulting from federally-declared disasters that occurred in 2016, as well as certain 2017 qualified disasters, including Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, and the California wildfires. Qualified disaster losses also include the following federally-declared disasters that occurred:
Special tax relief applies to qualified disaster losses.
Generally, casualty or theft losses are deductible in the later of:
However, a disaster loss may be treated differently.
Election to deduct disaster loss in preceding year. You may elect to deduct a casualty loss from a federally-declared disaster in the tax year immediately preceding the disaster year. Election must be made within six months after the regular due date (without extensions) for filing the original return for the disaster year.
Losses That Cannot Be Deducted Losses that you cannot deduct include the following:
Victims of criminal fraud or embezzlement related to a transaction entered into for profit are allowed to deduct the theft loss as an Other Itemized Deduction. The deduction is not subject to any other theft loss or itemized deduction reductions or limitations.
If an insurance or other type of reimbursement is received, the reimbursement must be subtracted when computing the loss. There is no casualty or theft loss to the extent of the reimbursement. If you expect to be reimbursed for all or part of the loss, subtract the expected reimbursement when computing the loss even if the reimbursement is not received until a later year.
Reimbursement received after deducting loss. If the casualty or theft loss was computed using an expected reimbursement, the tax return may have to be adjusted in the year the actual reimbursement was received.
Actual reimbursement less than expected. Include the difference as a loss with other losses (if any) in the year in which no more reimbursement is reasonably expected.
Actual reimbursement more than expected. The extra reimbursement may have to be included in income the year received. However, if any part of the original deduction did not reduce the taxpayer’s tax for the earlier year, that part of the reimbursement is not included in income.
The following rules apply for individuals whose main home(including a rented home) is in a disaster area and the home or any of its contents were destroyed by the disaster.
Food, medical supplies, and other forms of assistance received do not reduce the casualty loss, unless they are replacements for lost or destroyed property. Qualified disaster relief payments received for expenses incurred as a result of a federally-declared disaster are not taxable income.
If a taxpayer receives a cash gift as a disaster victim (such as gifts from relatives and neighbors) and there are no limits on how the taxpayer can use the money, the gift is excluded from income. The casualty loss is not reduced by the cash gift. This is true even if the cash gift is used to help pay for repairs to property damaged in the disaster.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains general information for U.S. taxpayers and should not be relied upon as the only source of authority. Seek out professional tax, legal, or financial advice from CryptoTaxAudit or from other reputable companies.