18.3 Disaster Losses

If you suffer a loss from a disaster in an area declared by the President as warranting federal assistance, you may deduct the loss either on the return for the year of the loss or on the return of the prior tax year (18.13).

You may elect to claim the deduction on a tax return for the previous year any time on or before the later of (1) the due date (without extensions) of the return for the year of the disaster or (2) the due date considering any extension for filing the return for the prior tax year. For a 2012 disaster loss, you generally have until April 15, 2013, to amend a 2011 tax return to claim the 2012 loss for 2011. In the case of a 2013 disaster loss, you generally have until April 15, 2014, to amend a 2012 tax return to claim the 2013 loss for 2012.

Revoking prior year election.

You have 90 days in which to revoke an election to deduct a disaster loss for the previous year. After the 90-day period, the election becomes irrevocable. However, where an early election is made, you have until the due date for filing your return for the year of the disaster to change your election. Your revocation of an election is not effective unless you repay any credit or refund resulting from the election within the revocation period. A revocation made before you receive a refund will not be effective unless you repay the refund within 30 days after you receive it.

Homeowners forced to relocate.

If you were forced to relocate or demolish your home in a disaster ...

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