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KiplingerOct 28, 2020
Tax Tip: How to Deduct Property Damage Caused by Hurricane Zeta
If you live in Hurricane Zeta's path, your family's personal safety is your number one concern during the storm. But once the hurricane has passed, your primary concern might be dealing with property damage from high winds or flooding. If that's the case, the tax law can offer some help.

SEE MORE Tax Relief for Hurricane, Wildfire, Flood and Other Natural Disaster Victims Personal casualty losses of individuals are deductible to the extent that they are attributable to a federally declared disaster area. This encompasses areas devastated by hurricanes, earthquakes, major flooding, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires and other events.

If your house, car or belongings are damaged or destroyed as a result of a federally declared disaster, you may qualify for a tax break to offset losses that aren't covered by insurance when you file a claim.

Generally, only taxpayers who itemize deductions can take a tax write-off for damage to personal property. And there are two important offsets that apply. First, you must reduce the amount of the loss by $100. Then, you can deduct the balance only to the extent that it exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Let's say your AGI is $100,000 and you have $30,000 in unreimbursed losses from damage to your house caused by Zeta. You first subtract $100 from the loss. Then you subtract $10,000 (10% of your AGI) from the $29,900 balance. The remaining $19,900 is the amount you can deduct on Schedule A of Form 1040. (More liberal rules apply for taking the deduction for 2018 and 2019 federally declared disasters.)

SEE MORE The Most Expensive Natural Dis


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KiplingerOct 21, 2020
There's Never Been a Better Time for Business Owners to Make a Move
The future is uncertain. COVID proves that.

SEE MORE Audit Alert: Why Business Owners Shouldn't Be Spooked by Captive Insurance Not only that, this election year is filled with unpredictability, especially for owners of small and midsize businesses. We are simultaneously navigating the uncertain waters of the Paycheck Protection Program as well as planning for possible changes in the business tax code.

2020 has been particularly brutal. According to MarketWatch, 55% of Yelp-listed businesses that closed due to COVID will stay closed permanently.

It's easy to see why many would assume a wait-and-see approach. Let's see who gets elected and how the tax code will change. Let's see how COVID stimulus is going to play out.

If you've found yourself saying things like this, let me be clear: This is anything but the moment to wait. I'm telling my clients that not only is it the right time to plan at least two years into the future, it's the right time to think big and consider whether an even bigger move makes sense.

Here's what you need to know to start making those plans:

Business taxes Small and midsize businesses should be building contingency plans now for whoever ends up winning the White House, as well as which party controls the House and Senate. Yes, it will take time before any legislation is passed regarding business taxes, but as COVID-19 has taught us, building those plans now and thinking at least two years ahead will set your business up for success regardless of the outcome on election night.

First, let's think about the most drastic scenario: a Democratic president and Senate. This is where I'd expect

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