Tips for homeowners filing taxes after the flood

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

(WAFB) - With tax season just around the corner, there are many things those impacted by the 2016 August flooding should know before filing.

First, individuals can claim losses from the storm as a deduction on their taxes. That includes damage to the home, household items, and vehicles. There is one catch: any money received from FEMA or an insurance company reduces how much of a loss that can be claimed.

There is one exception however.

"If they got an SBA loan to pay for the repairs on the home or to replace some personal property, they still can claim those as a casualty lost on their tax," said Clarence Bonius, a tax agent at Eagle Eye Tax Solutions on Monticello Blvd. in Baton Rouge.

In addition, money from the SBA, FEMA, and the insurance company are not themselves taxable. "No they do not have to claim the money they received from FEMA as income. Nor do they have to claim the loans they received from SBA as income," Bonius said.

Homeowners can also be reimbursed for the sales tax on damaged items that were purchased prior to the flood. Finally, if an individual's home is located in one of the areas designated a federal disaster zone, the homeowner may be able to amend their 2015 income tax to take into account the losses and damages. However, Bonius said that may not be the most efficient option in order to get money soon.

"If they can do the losses on the 2016 return, they can probably get some funds in their pockets faster," Bonius said.

Federal taxes are due April 18, while Louisiana state taxes are due May 15. For more information about filing taxes after the flood, click here.

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