After you have figured your casualty or theft loss, you must figure how much of the loss you can deduct.
The deduction for casualty and theft losses of employee property and personal-use property is limited. A loss on employee property is subject to the 2% rule, discussed next. With certain exceptions, a loss on property you own for your personal use is subject to the $500 and 10% rules, discussed later. The 2%, $500, and 10% rules are also summarized in Table 2.
Losses on business property (other than employee property) and income-producing property are not subject to these rules. However, if your casualty or theft loss involved a home you used for business or rented out, your deductible loss may be limited. See the instructions for Form 4684, Section B. If the casualty or theft loss involved property used in a passive activity, see Form 8582, Passive Activity Loss Limitations, and its instructions. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225294
The casualty and theft loss deduction for employee property, when added to your job expenses and most other miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) or Form 1040NR, Schedule A, must be reduced by 2% of your adjusted gross income. Employee property is property used in performing services as an employee.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225295
After you have figured your casualty or theft loss on personal-use property, as discussed earlier, you must reduce that loss by $500. This reduction applies to each total casualty or theft loss. It does not matter how many pieces of property are involved in an event. Only a single $500 reduction applies. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225296
You have $750 deductible collision insurance on your car. The car is damaged in a collision. The insurance company pays you for the damage minus the $750 deductible. The amount of the casualty loss is based solely on the deductible. The casualty loss is $250 ($750 − $500) because the first $500 of a casualty loss on personal-use property is not deductible.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225297
Generally, events closely related in origin cause a single casualty. It is a single casualty when the damage is from two or more closely related causes, such as wind and flood damage caused by the same storm. A single casualty may also damage two or more pieces of property, such as a hailstorm that damages both your home and your car parked in your driveway. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225298
A thunderstorm destroyed your pleasure boat. You also lost some boating equipment in the storm. Your loss was $5,000 on the boat and $1,200 on the equipment. Your insurance company reimbursed you $4,500 for the damage to your boat. You had no insurance coverage on the equipment. Your casualty loss is from a single event and the $500 rule applies once. Figure your loss before applying the 10% rule (discussed later) as follows.
| || || Boat || Equipment |
|2.||Subtract insurance|| 4,500 || -0- |
|3.||Loss after reimbursement|| $ 500 || $1,200 |
|5.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|6.|| Loss before 10% rule || $1,200 |
Thieves broke into your home in January and stole a ring and a fur coat. You had a loss of $200 on the ring and $700 on the coat. This is a single theft. The $500 rule applies to the total $900 loss.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225301
In September, hurricane winds blew the roof off your home. Flood waters caused by the hurricane further damaged your home and destroyed your furniture and personal car. This is considered a single casualty. The $500 rule is applied to your total loss from the flood waters and the wind.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225302
If you have more than one casualty or theft loss during your tax year, you must reduce each loss by $500. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225303
Your family car was damaged in an accident in January. Your loss after the insurance reimbursement was $75. In February, your car was damaged in another accident. This time your loss after the insurance reimbursement was $90. Apply the $500 rule to each separate casualty loss. Since neither accident resulted in a loss of over $500, you are not entitled to any deduction for these accidents.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225304
If two or more individuals (other than a husband and wife filing a joint return) have losses from the same casualty or theft, the $500 rule applies separately to each individual. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225305
A fire damaged your house and also damaged the personal property of your house guest. You must reduce your loss by $500. Your house guest must reduce his or her loss by $500.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225306
If you and your spouse file a joint return, you are treated as one individual in applying the $500 rule. It does not matter whether you own the property jointly or separately.
If you and your spouse have a casualty or theft loss and you file separate returns, each of you must reduce your loss by $500. This is true even if you own the property jointly. If one spouse owns the property, only that spouse can figure a loss deduction on a separate return.
If the casualty or theft loss is on property you own as tenants by the entirety, each of you can figure your deduction on only one-half of the loss on separate returns. Neither of you can figure your deduction on the entire loss on a separate return. Each of you must reduce the loss by $500. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225307
If two or more individuals (other than a husband and wife filing a joint return) have a loss on property jointly owned, the $500 rule applies separately to each. For example, if two sisters live together in a home they own jointly and they have a casualty loss on the home, the $500 rule applies separately to each sister. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225308
This rule does not apply to a net disaster loss attributable to a federally declared disaster (defined later under Disaster Area Losses).
You must reduce the total of all your casualty or theft losses on personal-use property by 10% of your adjusted gross income. Apply this rule after you reduce each loss by $500. If you have both gains and losses from casualties or thefts, see Gains and losses,
later in this discussion.
In June, you discovered that your house had been burglarized. Your loss after insurance reimbursement was $2,000. Your adjusted gross income for the year you discovered the theft is $29,500. Figure your theft loss as follows.
|1.||Loss after insurance||$2,000|
|2.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|3.||Loss after $500 rule||$1,500|
|4.||Subtract 10% of $29,500 AGI|| $2,950 |
|5.|| Theft loss deduction || $ -0- |
You do not have a theft loss deduction because your loss ($1,500) is less than 10% of your adjusted gross income ($2,950).taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225313
If you have more than one casualty or theft loss during your tax year, reduce each loss by any reimbursement and by $500. Then you must reduce the total of all your losses by 10% of your adjusted gross income. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225314
In March, you had a car accident that totally destroyed your car. You did not have collision insurance on your car, so you did not receive any insurance reimbursement. Your loss on the car was $1,800. In November, a fire damaged your basement and totally destroyed the furniture, washer, dryer, and other items you had stored there. Your loss on the basement items after reimbursement was $2,100. Your adjusted gross income for the year that the accident and fire occurred is $25,000. You figure your casualty loss deduction as follows.
| || || Car || Basement |
|2.||Subtract $500 per incident|| 500 || 500 |
|3.||Loss after $500 rule|| $1,300 || $1,600 |
|5.||Subtract 10% of $25,000 AGI|| 2,500 |
|6.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ 400 |
If you and your spouse file a joint return, you are treated as one individual in applying the 10% rule. It does not matter if you own the property jointly or separately.
If you file separate returns, the 10% rule applies to each return on which a loss is claimed. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225317
If two or more individuals (other than husband and wife filing a joint return) have a loss on property that is owned jointly, the 10% rule applies separately to each. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225318
If you have casualty or theft gains as well as losses to personal-use property, you must compare your total gains to your total losses. Do this after you have reduced each loss by any reimbursements and by $500 but before you have reduced the losses by 10% of your adjusted gross income.
Casualty or theft gains do not include gains you choose to postpone. See Postponement of Gain
If your losses are more than your recognized gains, subtract your gains from your losses and reduce the result by 10% of your adjusted gross income. The rest, if any, is your deductible loss from personal-use property. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225322
Your theft loss after reducing it by reimbursements and by $500 is $2,700. Your casualty gain is $700. Your loss is more than your gain, so you must reduce your $2,000 net loss ($2,700 − $700) by 10% of your adjusted gross income.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225323
If your recognized gains are more than your losses, subtract your losses from your gains. The difference is treated as a capital gain and must be reported on Schedule D (Form 1040). The 10% rule does not apply to your gains. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225324
Your theft loss is $600 after reducing it by reimbursements and by $500. Your casualty gain is $1,600. Because your gain is more than your loss, you must report the $1,000 net gain ($1,600 − $600) on Schedule D.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225325taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225327
Generally, you must figure your loss separately for each item stolen, damaged, or destroyed. However, a special rule applies to real property you own for personal use. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225328
In figuring a loss to real estate you own for personal use, all improvements (such as buildings and ornamental trees and the land containing the improvements) are considered together. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225329
In June, a fire destroyed your lakeside cottage, which cost $144,800 (including $14,500 for the land) several years ago. (Your land was not damaged.) This was your only casualty or theft loss for the year. The FMV of the property immediately before the fire was $180,000 ($145,000 for the cottage and $35,000 for the land). The FMV immediately after the fire was $35,000 (value of the land). You collected $130,000 from the insurance company. Your adjusted gross income for the year the fire occurred is $80,000. Your deduction for the casualty loss is $6,300, figured in the following manner.
|1.||Adjusted basis of the entire property (cost in this example)|| $144,800 |
|2.||FMV of entire property |
|3.||FMV of entire property after fire|| 35,000 |
|4.||Decrease in FMV of entire property (line 2 − line 3)|| $145,000 |
|5.||Loss (smaller of line 1 or line 4)||$144,800|
|6.||Subtract insurance|| 130,000 |
|7.||Loss after reimbursement||$14,800|
|8.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|9.||Loss after $500 rule||$14,300|
|10.||Subtract 10% of $80,000 AGI|| 8,000 |
|11.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ 6,300 |
You bought your home a few years ago. You paid $150,000 ($10,000 for the land and $140,000 for the house). You also spent an additional $2,000 for landscaping. This year a fire destroyed your home. The fire also damaged the shrubbery and trees in your yard. The fire was your only casualty or theft loss this year. Competent appraisers valued the property as a whole at $175,000 before the fire, but only $50,000 after the fire. Shortly after the fire, the insurance company paid you $95,000 for the loss. Your adjusted gross income for this year is $70,000. You figure your casualty loss deduction as follows.
|1.||Adjusted basis of the entire property (cost of land, building, and landscaping)|| $152,000 |
|2.||FMV of entire property |
|3.||FMV of entire property after fire|| 50,000 |
|4.||Decrease in FMV of entire property (line 2 − line 3)|| $125,000 |
|5.||Loss (smaller of line 1 or line 4)||$125,000|
|6.||Subtract insurance|| 95,000 |
|7.||Loss after reimbursement||$30,000|
|8.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|9.||Loss after $500 rule||$29,500|
|10.||Subtract 10% of $70,000 AGI|| 7,000 |
|11.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ 22,500 |
Personal property is generally any property that is not real property. If your personal property is stolen or is damaged or destroyed by a casualty, you must figure your loss separately for each item of property. Then combine these separate losses to figure the total loss. Reduce the total loss by $500 and 10% of your adjusted gross income to figure the loss deduction.taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225334
In August, a storm destroyed your pleasure boat, which cost $18,500. This was your only casualty or theft loss for the year. Its FMV immediately before the storm was $17,000. You had no insurance, but were able to salvage the motor of the boat and sell it for $200. Your adjusted gross income for the year the casualty occurred is $70,000.
Although the motor was sold separately, it is part of the boat and not a separate item of property. You figure your casualty loss deduction as follows.
|1.||Adjusted basis (cost in this example)|| $18,500 |
|2.||FMV before storm||$17,000|
|3.||FMV after storm|| 200 |
|4.||Decrease in FMV |
(line 2 − line 3)
| $16,800 |
|5.||Loss (smaller of line 1 or line 4)||$16,800|
|6.||Subtract insurance|| -0- |
|7.||Loss after reimbursement||$16,800|
|8.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|9.||Loss after $500 rule||$16,300|
|10.||Subtract 10% of $70,000 AGI|| 7,000 |
|11.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ 9,300 |
In June, you were involved in an auto accident that totally destroyed your personal car and your antique pocket watch. You had bought the car for $30,000. The FMV of the car just before the accident was $17,500. Its FMV just after the accident was $180 (scrap value). Your insurance company reimbursed you $16,000.
Your watch was not insured. You had purchased it for $250. Its FMV just before the accident was $500. Your adjusted gross income for the year the accident occurred is $97,000. Your casualty loss deduction is zero, figured as follows.
| || || Car || Watch |
|1.||Adjusted basis (cost)|| $30,000 || $250 |
|2.||FMV before accident||$17,500||$500|
|3.||FMV after accident|| 180 || -0- |
|4.||Decrease in FMV (line 2 − line 3)|| $17,320 || $500 |
|5.||Loss (smaller of line 1 or line 4)||$17,320||$250|
|6.||Subtract insurance|| 16,000 || -0- |
|7.||Loss after reimbursement|| $1,320 || $250 |
|9.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|10.||Loss after $500 rule||$1,070|
|11.||Subtract 10% of $97,000 AGI|| 9,700 |
|12.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ -0- |
When a casualty involves both real and personal properties, you must figure the loss separately for each type of property. However, you apply a single $500 reduction to the total loss. Then, you apply the 10% rule to figure the casualty loss deduction. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225339
In July, a hurricane damaged your home, which cost you $164,000 including land. The FMV of the property (both building and land) immediately before the storm was $170,000 and its FMV immediately after the storm was $100,000. Your household furnishings were also damaged. You separately figured the loss on each damaged household item and arrived at a total loss of $600.
You collected $50,000 from the insurance company for the damage to your home, but your household furnishings were not insured. Your adjusted gross income for the year the hurricane occurred is $65,000. You figure your casualty loss deduction from the hurricane in the following manner.
|1.||Adjusted basis of real property (cost in this example)|| $164,000 |
|2.||FMV of real property before|
|3.||FMV of real property after hurricane|| 100,000 |
|4.||Decrease in FMV of real property (line 2 − line 3)|| $70,000 |
|5.||Loss on real property (smaller of line 1 or line 4)||$70,000|
|6.||Subtract insurance|| 50,000 |
|7.||Loss on real property after reimbursement|| $20,000 |
|8.||Loss on furnishings||$600|
|9.||Subtract insurance|| -0- |
|10.||Loss on furnishings after reimbursement|| $600 |
|11.||Total loss (line 7 plus line 10)||$20,600|
|12.||Subtract $500|| 500 |
|13.||Loss after $500 rule||$20,100|
|14.||Subtract 10% of $65,000 AGI|| 6,500 |
|15.|| Casualty loss deduction || $ 13,600 |
When property is used partly for personal purposes and partly for business or income-producing purposes, the casualty or theft loss deduction must be figured separately for the personal-use portion and for the business or income-producing portion. You must figure each loss separately because the losses attributed to these two uses are figured in two different ways. When figuring each loss, allocate the total cost or basis, the FMV before and after the casualty or theft loss, and the insurance or other reimbursement between the business and personal use of the property. The $500 rule and the 10% rule apply only to the casualty or theft loss on the personal-use portion of the property. taxmap/pubs/p547-005.htm#en_us_publink1000225342
You own a building that you constructed on leased land. You use half of the building for your business and you live in the other half. The cost of the building was $400,000. You made no further improvements or additions to it.
A flood in March damaged the entire building. The FMV of the building was $380,000 immediately before the flood and $320,000 afterwards. Your insurance company reimbursed you $40,000 for the flood damage. Depreciation on the business part of the building before the flood totaled $24,000. Your adjusted gross income for the year the flood occurred is $125,000.
You have a deductible business casualty loss of $10,000. You do not have a deductible personal casualty loss because of the 10% rule. You figure your loss as follows.
| || || Business || || Personal |
| || || Part || || Part |
| 1.||Cost (total $400,000)||$200,000|| ||$200,000|
| 2.||Subtract depreciation|| 24,000 || || -0- |
| 3.||Adjusted basis|| $176,000 || || $200,000 |
| 4.||FMV before flood (total $380,000)||$190,000|| ||$190,000|
| 5.||FMV after flood (total $320,000)|| 160,000 || || 160,000 |
| 6.||Decrease in FMV |
(line 4 − line 5)
| $30,000 || || $30,000 |
| 7.||Loss (smaller of line 3 or line 6)||$30,000|| ||$30,000|
| 8.||Subtract insurance|| 20,000 || || 20,000 |
| 9.||Loss after reimbursement||$10,000|| ||$10,000|
|10.||Subtract $500 on personal-use property|| -0- || || 500 |
|11.||Loss after $500 rule||$10,000|| ||$9,500|
|12.||Subtract 10% of $125,000 AGI on personal-use property|| -0- || || 12,500 |
|13.|| Deductible business loss || $10,000 || || |
|14.|| Deductible personal loss || || || $ -0- |