The push for disaster tax relief

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Congress passed tax relief following the 2017 disasters like hurricanes Harvey and Irma and has even been introduced for 2019 disasters.

Michael's Angels member Anne Marie Sale said, "Disaster tax relief is relief that comes each year with hurricanes to benefit small business with tax credits, homeowners with the casualty losses on their homes, and certain credits available for earned income."

Disaster-related tax deductions are in place, but there's a catch.

"The deduction for individuals as a ten percent limitation in place right now. The loss needs to be greater or the deduction needs to be greater than ten percent of their income--adjusted gross income," said Lisa Goolsby, also a member of Michael's Angles.

Meaning if the amount of uninsured loss leftover to itemize doesn't exceed your standard deduction, then it wouldn't make sense to claim the loss. This bill would allow you to deduct the loss in addition to claiming the standard deduction.

The bill would also benefit businesses.

Encompass Health continued to pay its 200 employees while it was closed because of damages causing the business $1.4 million.

Encompass Health's CEO, Tony Bennett, said, "Part of the bill allows for a tax credit that were able to do that as a way to help pay back a little bit of what we were paying out while we were not generating any revenue."

Previous bills have been introduced in the House and Senate but have since lost traction.

Goolsby said, "It's just a tax benefit for taxpayers to receive that victims received previously and potentially after so where are we in this little bitty window of 2018 and why do we not have that same opportunity?"

When it comes to casualty losses, if your insurance policy was settled this year, you could write this on your 2018 or 2019 tax return. If you are uninsured or your insurance policy was settled in 2018, you could write this on your 2017 or 2018 tax return.

All other rules like the business employee credit could affect the 2018 return.

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