This has been a big year for natural disasters nationwide. Marylanders weathered an earthquake and a hurricane/tropical storm within a single week in August. For any damage to property that's not covered by insurance, you can deduct losses on your federal return, says Melissa Labant, technical manager with the American Institute of CPAs. The IRS has a formula to calculate losses, and the amount that exceeds 10 percent of adjusted gross income can be deducted on an itemized return. But you don't have to wait until next year to claim the loss on your taxes, adds Barbara Weltman, author of "J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions & Tax Breaks." If your area was declared a federal disaster site, she says, you can amend your previous return and claim the losses on it and get your refund earlier. "You will have some money to help you rebuild," she says.
Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
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