Tax season brings some challenging questions for southwest Florida homeowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Ian.
Fox 4 Investigates spoke with two local experts, Adam Bruno with Evolution Retirement Services and Certified Public Accountant Eric Higginson, to find out what you need to know about tax deductibles due to hurricane damage.
The experts recommend you document all the damage you sustained, from a destroyed roof to the food that spoiled in your refrigerator.
But you can only write those damages off on your tax returns if you haven’t been reimbursed by your insurance or FEMA.
“Any insurance reimbursement is going to offset or reduce those losses. You can't get an insurance claim and then still deduct those losses. It's double dipping,” Bruno said.
This week, Fox 4 Investigates highlighted the story of John Durso, Jr. in Port Charlotte.
Durso says his insurance provider issued him a check for $111,000.
But he says the estimates he’s received from contractors are more than double what he received from insurance.
“I cannot fix this house for $111,000. I talked to contractors.
“That poor gentleman at least gets a chance to get some of his money back as far as his deduction goes,” said Bruno. “Because that's basically all we have left now if (the insurance companies) aren't going to pony up and pay the money.”
There’s another big change that could impact people who took damage in both Hurricane Irma and Ian.
Back in 2017, Irma was deemed a “qualified disaster” which meant you could claim an extra 10% on your standard deductions, but only Congress can decide if something is a qualified disaster.
“Irma, for example, was a qualified disaster. But there are no qualified disasters for the tax year 2022, currently,” Higginson said.
FEMA and insurance reimbursements are not considered taxable income.
So, Higginson says you won’t get hit with a higher tax threshold.
“I may be biased here, but I would always advise somebody with a complicated tax situation to consult a qualified tax preparer,” said Higginson.