Consider Katrina at Tax Time

By: Stan Torgerson
By: Stan Torgerson

There are tax breaks available for people who had property damage from Hurricane Katrina, if certain conditions are met.

You don't necessarily have to have photographs to document what happened, but verification is needed, according to representatives of the accounting firm, Rea, Shaw, Giffin and Stuart.

"You just have to have a measurement of it by somebody, either a repair person or an appraiser," said CPA Bob Rea. "The real measure is the value of a house before and a value of a house after it."

The government has created form 4492 for such taxpayers. Finding a qualified appraisal seems to be the key.

Even if your home wasn't damaged, your shrubs or trees may have been and that loss might be covered.

"I hope people are getting appraisals," said Rea. "But you find out that more of them more often than not aren't willing to pay the fee to have an appraisal."

It's possible that an appraisal could end up paying for itself.

"Certain things like the shrubbery, large trees, have a value," said Alan Webb. "And if a large tree is knocked down, then if you can find a horticulturist or arborist who will come out and place a value on that tree, you may be able to get a deduction."

The same rules apply to small business as they do to individual home owners.


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