11.   Casualties, Thefts, and Condemnations

Introduction

This chapter explains the tax treatment of casualties, thefts, and condemnations. A casualty occurs when property is damaged, destroyed, or lost due to a sudden, unexpected, or unusual event. A theft occurs when property is stolen. A condemnation occurs when private property is legally taken for public use without the owner's consent. A casualty, theft, or condemnation may result in a deductible loss or taxable gain on your federal income tax return. You may have a deductible loss or a taxable gain even if only a portion of your property was affected by a casualty, theft, or condemnation.

An involuntary conversion occurs when you receive money or other property as reimbursement for a casualty, theft, condemnation, disposition of property under threat of condemnation, or certain other events discussed in this chapter.

If an involuntary conversion results in a gain and you buy qualified replacement property within the specified replacement period, you can postpone reporting the gain on your income tax return. For more information, see Postponing Gain , later.

Topics - This chapter discusses:

  • Casualties and thefts

  • How to figure a loss or gain

  • Other involuntary conversions

  • Postponing gain

  • Disaster area losses

  • Reporting gains and losses

  • Drought involving property connected with a trade or business or a transaction entered into for profit

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 523 Selling Your Home

  • 525 Taxable and Nontaxable Income

  • 536 Net Operating Losses (NOLs) for Individuals, Estates, and Trusts

  • 544 Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets

  • 547 Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts

  • 584 Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook (Personal-Use Property)

  • 584-B Business Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook

Form (and Instructions)

  • Sch A (Form 1040) Itemized 
    Deductions

  • Sch D (Form 1040) Capital Gains and Losses

  • Sch F (Form 1040) Profit or Loss From Farming

  • 4684 Casualties and Thefts

  • 4797 Sales of Business Property

See chapter 16 for information about getting publications and forms.

Casualties and Thefts

If your property is destroyed, damaged, or stolen, you may have a deductible loss. If the insurance or other reimbursement is more than the adjusted basis of the destroyed, damaged, or stolen property, you may have a taxable gain.

Casualty.   A casualty is the damage, destruction, or loss of property resulting from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual.
  • A sudden event is one that is swift, not gradual or progressive.

  • An unexpected event is one that is ordinarily unanticipated and unintended.

  • An unusual event is one that is not a day-to-day occurrence and that is not typical of the activity in which you were engaged.

Deductible losses.   Deductible casualty losses can result from a number of different causes, including the following.
  • Airplane crashes.

  • Car, truck, or farm equipment accidents not resulting from your willful act or willful negligence.

  • Earthquakes.

  • Fires (but see Nondeductible losses next for exceptions).

  • Floods.

  • Freezing.

  • Government-ordered demolition or relocation of a home that is unsafe to use because of a disaster as discussed under Disaster Area Losses, in Publication 547.

  • Lightning.

  • Storms, including hurricanes and tornadoes.

  • Terrorist attacks.

  • Vandalism.

  • Volcanic eruptions.

Nondeductible losses.   A casualty loss is not deductible if the damage or destruction is caused by the following.
  • Accidentally breaking articles such as glassware or china under normal conditions.

  • A family pet (explained below).

  • A fire if you willfully set it, or pay someone else to set it.

  • A car, truck, or farm equipment accident if your willful negligence or willful act caused it. The same is true if the willful act or willful negligence of someone acting for you caused the accident.

  • Progressive deterioration (explained below).

Family pet.   Loss of property due to damage by a family pet is not deductible as a casualty loss unless the requirements discussed above under Casualty are met.

Example.

You keep your horse in your yard. The ornamental fruit trees in your yard were damaged when your horse stripped the bark from them. Some of the trees were completely girdled and died. Because the damage was not unexpected or unusual, the loss is not deductible.

Progressive deterioration.   Loss of property due to progressive deterioration is not deductible as a casualty loss. This is because the damage results from a steadily operating cause or a normal process, rather than from a sudden event. Examples of damage due to progressive deterioration include damage from rust, corrosion, or termites. However, weather-related conditions or disease may cause another type of involuntary conversion. See Other Involuntary Conversions , later.

Theft.   A theft is the taking and removing of money or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The taking of property must be illegal under the law of the state where it occurred and it must have been done with criminal intent. You do not need to show a conviction for theft.

  Theft includes the taking of money or property by the following means:
  • Blackmail,

  • Burglary,

  • Embezzlement,

  • Extortion,

  • Kidnapping for ransom,

  • Larceny,

  • Robbery, or

  • Threats.

The taking of money or property through fraud or misrepresentation is theft if it is illegal under state or local law.

Decline in market value of stock.   You cannot deduct as a theft loss the decline in market value of stock acquired on the open market for investment if the decline is caused by disclosure of accounting fraud or other illegal misconduct by the officers or directors of the corporation that issued the stock. However, you can deduct as a capital loss the loss you sustain when you sell or exchange the stock or the stock becomes completely worthless. You report a capital loss on Schedule D (Form 1040). For more information about stock sales, worthless stock, and capital losses, see chapter 4 of Publication 550.

Mislaid or lost property.   The simple disappearance of money or property is not a theft. However, an accidental loss or disappearance of property can qualify as a casualty if it results from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual.

Example.

A car door is accidentally slammed on your hand, breaking the setting of your diamond ring. The diamond falls from the ring and is never found. The loss of the diamond is a casualty.

Farming Losses

You can deduct certain casualty or theft losses that occur in the business of farming. The following is a discussion of some losses you can deduct and some you cannot deduct.

Livestock or produce bought for resale.   Casualty or theft losses of livestock or produce bought for resale are deductible if you report your income on the cash method. If you report your income on an accrual method, take casualty and theft losses on property bought for resale by omitting the item from the closing inventory for the year of the loss. You cannot take a separate deduction.

Livestock, plants, produce, and crops raised for sale.   Losses of livestock, plants, produce, and crops raised for sale are generally not deductible if you report your income on the cash method. You have already deducted the cost of raising these items as farm expenses, so their basis is equal to zero.

  For plants with a preproductive period of more than 2 years, you may have a deductible loss if you have a tax basis in the plants. You usually have a tax basis if you capitalized the expenses associated with these plants under the uniform capitalization rules. The uniform capitalization rules are discussed in chapter 6.

  If you report your income on an accrual method, casualty or theft losses are deductible only if you included the items in your inventory at the beginning of your tax year. You get the deduction by omitting the item from your inventory at the close of your tax year. You cannot take a separate casualty or theft deduction.

Income loss.   A loss of future income is not deductible.

Example.

A severe flood destroyed your crops. Because you are a cash method taxpayer and already deducted the cost of raising the crops as farm expenses, this loss is not deductible, as explained above under Livestock, plants, produce, and crops raised for sale . You estimate that the crop loss will reduce your farm income by $25,000. This loss of future income is also not deductible.

Loss of timber.   If you sell timber downed as a result of a casualty, treat the proceeds from the sale as a reimbursement. If you use the proceeds to buy qualified replacement property, you can postpone reporting the gain. See Postponing Gain , later.

Property used in farming.   Casualty and theft losses of property used in your farm business usually result in deductible losses. If a fire or storm destroyed your barn, or you lose by casualty or theft an animal you bought for draft, breeding, dairy, or sport, you may have a deductible loss. See How To Figure a Loss , later.

Raised draft, breeding, dairy, or sporting animals.   Generally, losses of raised draft, breeding, dairy, or sporting animals do not result in deductible casualty or theft losses because you have no basis in the animals. However, you may have a basis in the animal and therefore may be able to claim a deduction if either of the following situations applies to you.
  • You use inventories to determine your income and you included the animals in your inventory.

  • You capitalized the expenses associated with the animals under the uniform capitalization rules and therefore have a tax basis in the animals subject to a casualty or theft.

When you include livestock in inventory, its last inventory value is its basis. When you lose an inventoried animal held for draft, breeding, dairy, or sport by casualty or theft during the year, decrease ending inventory by the amount you included in inventory for the animal. You cannot take a separate deduction.

How To Figure a Loss

How you figure a deductible casualty or theft loss depends on whether the loss was to farm or personal-use property and whether the property was stolen or partly or completely destroyed.

Farm property.   Farm property is the property you use in your farming business. If your farm property was completely destroyed or stolen, your loss is figured as follows:

  
  Your adjusted basis in the property  
  MINUS  
  Any salvage value  
  MINUS  
  Any insurance or other reimbursement you  
receive or expect to receive
 

  
You can use the schedules in Publication 584-B to list your stolen, damaged, or destroyed business property and to figure your loss.

  If your farm property was partially damaged, use the steps shown under Personal-use property next to figure your casualty loss. However, the deduction limits, discussed later, do not apply to farm property.

Personal-use property.   Personal-use property is property used by you or your family members for personal purposes and not used in your farm business or for income-producing purposes. The following items are examples of personal-use property:
  • Your main home.

  • Furniture and electronics used in your main home and not used in a home office or for business purposes.

  • Clothing and jewelry.

  • An automobile used for nonbusiness purposes.

You figure the casualty or theft loss on this property by taking the following steps.
  1. Determine your adjusted basis in the property before the casualty or theft.

  2. Determine the decrease in fair market value of the property as a result of the casualty or theft.

  3. From the smaller of the amounts you determined in (1) and (2), subtract any insurance or other reimbursement you receive or expect to receive.

You must apply the deduction limits, discussed later, to determine your deductible loss.

  
You can use Publication 584 to list your stolen or damaged personal-use property and figure your loss. It includes schedules to help you figure the loss on your home, its contents, and your motor vehicles.

Adjusted basis.   Adjusted basis is your basis (usually cost) increased or decreased by various events, such as improvements and casualty losses. For more information about adjusted basis, see chapter 6.

Decrease in fair market value (FMV).   The decrease in FMV is the difference between the property's value immediately before the casualty or theft and its value immediately afterward. FMV is defined in chapter 10 under Payments Received or Considered Received .

Appraisal.   To figure the decrease in FMV because of a casualty or theft, you generally need a competent appraisal. But other measures, such as the cost of cleaning up or making repairs (discussed next) can be used to establish decreases in FMV.

  An appraisal to determine the difference between the FMV of the property immediately before a casualty or theft and immediately afterward should be made by a competent appraiser. The appraiser must recognize the effects of any general market decline that may occur along with the casualty. This information is needed to limit any deduction to the actual loss resulting from damage to the property.

Cost of cleaning up or making repairs.   The cost of cleaning up after a casualty is not part of a casualty loss. Neither is the cost of repairing damaged property after a casualty. But you can use the cost of cleaning up or making repairs after a casualty as a measure of the decrease in FMV if you meet all the following conditions.
  • The repairs are actually made.

  • The repairs are necessary to bring the property back to its condition before the casualty.

  • The amount spent for repairs is not excessive.

  • The repairs fix the damage only.

  • The value of the property after the repairs is not, due to the repairs, more than the value of the property before the casualty.

Related expenses.   The incidental expenses due to a casualty or theft, such as expenses for the treatment of personal injuries, temporary housing, or a rental car, are not part of your casualty or theft loss. However, they may be deductible as farm business expenses if the damaged or stolen property is farm property.

Separate computations for more than one item of property.   Generally, if a single casualty or theft involves more than one item of property, you must figure your loss separately for each item of property. Then combine the losses to determine your total loss.

  
There is an exception to this rule for personal-use real property. See Exception for personal-use real property, later.

Example.

A fire on your farm damaged a tractor and the barn in which it was stored. The tractor had an adjusted basis of $3,300. Its FMV was $28,000 just before the fire and $10,000 immediately afterward. The barn had an adjusted basis of $28,000. Its FMV was $55,000 just before the fire and $25,000 immediately afterward. You received insurance reimbursements of $2,100 on the tractor and $26,000 on the barn. Figure your deductible casualty loss separately for the two items of property.

    Tractor Barn
1) Adjusted basis $3,300 $28,000
2) FMV before fire $28,000 $55,000
3) FMV after fire 10,000 25,000
4) Decrease in FMV  
(line 2 − line 3)
$18,000 $30,000
5) Loss (lesser of line 1 or line 4) $3,300 $28,000
6) Minus: Insurance 2,100 26,000
7) Deductible casualty loss $1,200 $2,000
8) Total deductible casualty loss $3,200

You spent $1,800 restoring the tractor to its pre-casualty condition and $30,000 restoring the barn to its pre-casualty condition. Your adjusted basis in the tractor after the casualty is $1,800 ($3,300 – $2,100 – $1,200 + $1,800). Your adjusted basis in the barn after the casualty is $30,000 ($28,000 – $26,000 – $2,000 + $30,000).

Exception for personal-use real property.   In figuring a casualty loss on personal-use real property, the entire property (including any improvements, such as buildings, trees, and shrubs) is treated as one item. Figure the loss using the smaller of the following.
  • The decrease in FMV of the entire property.

  • The adjusted basis of the entire property.

Example.

You bought a farm in 1990 for $160,000. The adjusted basis of the residential part is now $128,000. In 2014, a windstorm blew down shade trees and three ornamental trees planted at a cost of $7,500 on the residential part. The adjusted basis of the residential part includes the $7,500. The fair market value (FMV) of the residential part immediately before the storm was $400,000, and $385,000 immediately after the storm. The trees were not covered by insurance.

1) Adjusted basis $128,000
2) FMV before the storm $400,000
3) FMV after the storm 385,000
4) Decrease in FMV (line 2 − line 3) $15,000
5) Loss before insurance 
(lesser of line 1 or line 4)
$15,000
6) Minus: Insurance -0-
7) Loss before applying limits $15,000
 
As explained later under Deduction Limits on Losses of Personal-Use Property, you have to reduce $15,000 by $100 and 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) to get your deductible loss. Thus, your deductible loss is figured as follows.
 
8) Subtract $100 $100
9) Loss after the $100 rule 14,900
10) Subtract 10% (.10) x $60,000 AGI 6,000
11) Casualty loss deduction $8,900

You never replaced the trees. Your adjusted basis in the residential part of your property after the casualty is $119,100 ($128,000 – $8,900).

Insurance and other reimbursements.   If you receive an insurance or other type of reimbursement, you must subtract the reimbursement when you figure your loss. You do not have a casualty or theft loss to the extent you are reimbursed.

  If you expect to be reimbursed for part or all of your loss, you must subtract the expected reimbursement when you figure your loss. You must reduce your loss even if you do not receive payment until a later tax year.

  
Do not subtract from your loss any insurance payments you receive for living expenses if you lose the use of your main home or are denied access to it because of a casualty. You may have to include a portion of these payments in your income. See Insurance payments for living expenses in Publication 547 for details.

Disaster relief.   Food, medical supplies, and other forms of assistance you receive do not reduce your casualty loss, unless they are replacements for lost or destroyed property. Excludable cash gifts you receive also do not reduce your casualty loss if there are no limits on how you can use the money.

  Generally, disaster relief grants received under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act are not included in your income. See Federal disaster relief grants , later, under Disaster Area Losses .

  Qualified disaster relief payments for expenses you incurred as a result of a federally declared disaster are not taxable income to you. See Qualified disaster relief payments , later, under Disaster Area Losses .

Reimbursement received after deducting loss.   If you figure your casualty or theft loss using your expected reimbursement, you may have to adjust your tax return for the tax year in which you get your actual reimbursement.

Actual reimbursement less than expected.   If you later receive less reimbursement than you expected, include that difference as a loss with your other losses (if any) on your return for the year in which you can reasonably expect no more reimbursement.

Actual reimbursement more than expected.   If you later receive more reimbursement than you expected after you have claimed a deduction for the loss, you may have to include the extra reimbursement in your income for the year you receive it. However, if any part of your original deduction did not reduce your tax for the earlier year, do not include that part of the reimbursement in your income. Do not refigure your tax for the year you claimed the deduction. See Recoveries in Publication 525 to find out how much extra reimbursement to include in income.

If the total of all the reimbursements you receive is more than your adjusted basis in the destroyed or stolen property, you will have a gain on the casualty or theft. See Figuring a Gain in Publication 547 for information on how to treat a gain from the reimbursement you receive because of a casualty or theft.

Actual reimbursement same as expected.   If you receive exactly the reimbursement you expected to receive, you do not have to include any of the reimbursement in your income and you cannot deduct any additional loss.

Lump-sum reimbursement.   If you have a casualty or theft loss of several assets at the same time without an allocation of reimbursement to specific assets, divide the lump-sum reimbursement among the assets according to the fair market value of each asset at the time of the loss. Figure the gain or loss separately for each asset that has a separate basis.

Adjustments to basis.   If you have a casualty or theft loss, you must decrease your basis in the property by any insurance or other reimbursement you receive and by any deductible loss. The result is your adjusted basis in the property. If you make either of the basis adjustments described above, amounts you spend on repairs to restore your property to its pre-casualty condition increase your adjusted basis. See Adjusted Basis in chapter 6 for more information.

Example.

You built a new silo for $25,000. This is the basis in your silo because that is the total cost you incurred to build it. During the year, a tornado damaged your silo and your allowable casualty loss deduction was $1,000. In addition, your insurance company reimbursed you $4,000 for the damage and you spent $6,000 to restore the silo to its pre-casualty condition. Your adjusted basis in the silo after the casualty is $26,000 ($25,000 - $1,000 - $4,000 + $6,000).

Deduction Limits on Losses of Personal-Use Property

Casualty and theft losses of property held for personal use may be deductible if you itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040).

There are two limits on the deduction for casualty or theft loss of personal-use property. You figure these limits on Form 4684.

$100 rule.   You must reduce each casualty or theft loss on personal-use property by $100. This rule applies after you have subtracted any reimbursement.

10% rule.   You must further 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 $100. Adjusted gross income is on line 38 of Form 1040.

Example.

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 burglary is $57,000. Figure your theft loss deduction as follows:

1) Loss after insurance $2,000
2) Subtract $100 100
3) Loss after $100 rule $1,900
4) Subtract 10% (.10) × $57,000 AGI $5,700
5) Theft loss deduction -0-

You do not have a theft loss deduction because your loss ($1,900) is less than 10% of your adjusted gross income ($5,700).

  
If you have a casualty or theft gain in addition to a loss, you will have to make a special computation before you figure your 10% limit. See 10% Rule in Publication 547.

When Loss Is Deductible

Generally, you can deduct casualty losses that are not reimbursable only in the tax year in which they occur. You generally can deduct theft losses that are not reimbursable only in the year you discover your property was stolen. However, losses in federally declared disaster areas are subject to different rules. See Disaster Area Losses , later, for an exception.

If you are not sure whether part of your casualty or theft loss will be reimbursed, do not deduct that part until the tax year when you become reasonably certain that it will not be reimbursed.

Leased property.    If you lease property from someone else, you can deduct a loss on the property in the year your liability for the loss is determined. This is true even if the loss occurred or the liability was paid in a different year. You are not entitled to a deduction until your liability under the lease can be determined with reasonable accuracy. Your liability can be determined when a claim for recovery is settled, adjudicated, or abandoned.

Example.

Robert leased a tractor from First Implement, Inc., for use in his farm business. The tractor was destroyed by a tornado in June 2013. The loss was not insured. First Implement billed Robert for the fair market value of the tractor on the date of the loss. Robert disagreed with the bill and refused to pay it. First Implement later filed suit in court against Robert. In 2014, Robert and First Implement agreed to settle the suit for $20,000, and the court entered a judgment in favor of First Implement. Robert paid $20,000 in June 2014. He can claim the $20,000 as a loss on his 2014 tax return.

Net operating loss (NOL).   If your deductions, including casualty or theft loss deductions, are more than your income for the year, you may have an NOL. An NOL can be carried back or carried forward and deducted from income in other years. See Publication 536 for more information on NOLs.

Proof of Loss

To deduct a casualty or theft loss, you must be able to prove that there was a casualty or theft. You must have records to support the amount you claim for the loss.

Casualty loss proof.   For a casualty loss, your records should show all the following information.
  • The type of casualty (car accident, fire, storm, etc.) and when it occurred.

  • That the loss was a direct result of the casualty.

  • That you were the owner of the property or, if you leased the property from someone else, that you were contractually liable to the owner for the damage.

  • Whether a claim for reimbursement exists for which there is a reasonable expectation of recovery.

Theft loss proof.   For a theft loss, your records should show all the following information.
  • When you discovered your property was missing.

  • That your property was stolen.

  • That you were the owner of the property.

  • Whether a claim for reimbursement exists for which there is a reasonable expectation of recovery.

Figuring a Gain

A casualty or theft may result in a taxable gain. If you receive an insurance payment or other reimbursement that is more than your adjusted basis in the destroyed, damaged, or stolen property, you have a gain from the casualty or theft. You generally report your gain as income in the year you receive the reimbursement. However, depending on the type of property you receive, you may not have to report your gain. See Postponing Gain , later.

Your gain is figured as follows:

  • The amount you receive, minus

  • Your adjusted basis in the property at the time of the casualty or theft.

Even if the decrease in FMV of your property is smaller than the adjusted basis of your property, use your adjusted basis to figure the gain.

Amount you receive.   The amount you receive includes any money plus the value of any property you receive, minus any expenses you have in obtaining reimbursement. It also includes any reimbursement used to pay off a mortgage or other lien on the damaged, destroyed, or stolen property.

Example.

A tornado severely damaged your barn. The adjusted basis of the barn was $25,000. Your insurance company reimbursed you $40,000 for the damaged barn. However, you had legal expenses of $2,000 to collect that insurance. Your insurance minus your expenses to collect the insurance is more than your adjusted basis in the barn, so you have a gain.

1) Insurance reimbursement $40,000
2) Legal expenses 2,000
3) Amount received  
(line 1 − line 2)
$38,000
4) Adjusted basis 25,000
5) Gain on casualty (line 3 − line 4) $13,000

The adjusted basis of the barn after the casualty is $38,000 ($25,000 + $13,000) if you recognized gain and did not repair the barn.

Other Involuntary Conversions

In addition to casualties and thefts, other events cause involuntary conversions of property. Some of these are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Gain or loss from an involuntary conversion of your property is usually recognized for tax purposes. You report the gain or deduct the loss on your tax return for the year you realize it. However, depending on the type of property you receive, you may not have to report your gain on the involuntary conversion. See Postponing Gain , later.

Condemnation

Condemnation is the process by which private property is legally taken for public use without the owner's consent. The property may be taken by the federal government, a state government, a political subdivision, or a private organization that has the power to legally take property. The owner receives a condemnation award (money or property) in exchange for the property taken. A condemnation is a forced sale, the owner being the seller and the condemning authority being the buyer.

Threat of condemnation.   Treat the sale of your property under threat of condemnation as a condemnation, provided you have reasonable grounds to believe that your property will be condemned.

Main home condemned.   If you have a gain because your main home is condemned, you generally can exclude the gain from your income as if you had sold or exchanged your home. For information on this exclusion, see Publication 523. If your gain is more than the amount you can exclude, but you buy replacement property, you may be able to postpone reporting the excess gain. See Postponing Gain , later. (You cannot deduct a loss from the condemnation of your main home.)

More information.   For information on how to figure the gain or loss on condemned property, see chapter 1 in Publication 544. Also see Postponing Gain , later, to find out if you can postpone reporting the gain.

Irrigation Project

The sale or other disposition of property located within an irrigation project to conform to the acreage limits of federal reclamation laws is an involuntary conversion.

Livestock Losses

Diseased livestock.   If your livestock die from disease, or are destroyed, sold, or exchanged because of disease, even though the disease is not of epidemic proportions, treat these occurrences as involuntary conversions. If the livestock were raised or purchased for resale, follow the rules for livestock discussed earlier under Farming Losses . Otherwise, figure the gain or loss from these conversions using the rules discussed under Determining Gain or Loss in chapter 8. If you replace the livestock, you may be able to postpone reporting the gain. See Postponing Gain below.

Reporting dispositions of diseased livestock.   If you choose to postpone reporting gain on the disposition of diseased livestock, you must attach a statement to your return explaining that the livestock were disposed of because of disease. You must also include other information on this statement. See How To Postpone Gain , later, under Postponing Gain .

Weather-related sales of livestock.   If you sell or exchange livestock (other than poultry) held for draft, breeding, or dairy purposes solely because of drought, flood, or other weather-related conditions, treat the sale or exchange as an involuntary conversion. Only livestock sold in excess of the number you normally would sell under usual business practice, in the absence of weather-related conditions, are considered involuntary conversions. Figure the gain or loss using the rules discussed under Determining Gain or Loss in chapter 8. If you replace the livestock, you may be able to postpone reporting the gain. See Postponing Gain below.

Example.

It is your usual business practice to sell five of your dairy animals during the year. This year you sold 20 dairy animals because of drought. The sale of 15 animals is treated as an involuntary conversion.

  
If you do not replace the livestock, you may be able to report the gain in the following year's income. This rule also applies to other livestock (including poultry). See Sales Caused by Weather-Related Conditions in chapter 3 .

Tree Seedlings

If, because of an abnormal drought, the failure of planted tree seedlings is greater than normally anticipated, you may have a deductible loss. Treat the loss as a loss from an involuntary conversion. The loss equals the previously capitalized reforestation costs you had to duplicate on replanting. You deduct the loss on the return for the year the seedlings died.

Postponing Gain

Do not report a gain if you receive reimbursement in the form of property similar or related in service or use to the destroyed, stolen, or other involuntarily converted property. Your basis in the new property is generally the same as your adjusted basis in the property it replaces.

You must ordinarily report the gain on your stolen, destroyed, or other involuntarily converted property if you receive money or unlike property as reimbursement. However, you can choose to postpone reporting the gain if you purchase replacement property similar or related in service or use to your destroyed, stolen, or other involuntarily converted property within a specific replacement period.

If you have a gain on damaged property, you can postpone reporting the gain if you spend the reimbursement to restore the property.

To postpone reporting all the gain, the cost of your replacement property must be at least as much as the reimbursement you receive. If the cost of the replacement property is less than the reimbursement, you must include the gain in your income up to the amount of the unspent reimbursement.

Example 1.

In 1985, you constructed a barn to store farm equipment at a cost of $20,000. In 1987, you added a silo to the barn at a cost of $15,000 to store grain. In May of this year, the property was worth $100,000. In June the barn and silo were destroyed by a tornado. At the time of the tornado, you had an adjusted basis of $0 in the property. You received $85,000 from the insurance company. You had a gain of $85,000 ($85,000 – $0).

You spent $80,000 to rebuild the barn and silo. Since this is less than the insurance proceeds received, you must include $5,000 ($85,000 – $80,000) in your income. You choose to postpone the remaining $80,000 gain.

Example 2.

In 1993, you bought a cabin in the mountains for your personal use at a cost of $18,000. You made no further improvements or additions to it. When a storm destroyed the cabin this January, the cabin was worth $250,000. You received $146,000 from the insurance company in March. You had a gain of $128,000 ($146,000 − $18,000).

You spent $144,000 to rebuild the cabin. Since this is less than the insurance proceeds received, you must include $2,000 ($146,000 − $144,000) in your income. You choose to postpone reporting the remaining $144,000 gain.

Buying replacement property from a related person.   You cannot postpone reporting a gain from a casualty, theft, or other involuntary conversion if you buy the replacement property from a related person (discussed later). This rule applies to the following taxpayers.
  1. C corporations.

  2. Partnerships in which more than 50% of the capital or profits interest is owned by C corporations.

  3. Individuals, partnerships (other than those in (2) above), and S corporations if the total realized gain for the tax year on all involuntarily converted properties on which there are realized gains is more than $100,000.

For involuntary conversions described in (3) above, gains cannot be offset by any losses when determining whether the total gain is more than $100,000. If the property is owned by a partnership, the $100,000 limit applies to the partnership and each partner. If the property is owned by an S corporation, the $100,000 limit applies to the S corporation and each shareholder.

Exception.   This rule does not apply if the related person acquired the property from an unrelated person within the period of time allowed for replacing the involuntarily converted property.

Related persons.   Under this rule, related persons include, for example, a parent and child, a brother and sister, a corporation and an individual who owns more than 50% of its outstanding stock, and two partnerships in which the same C corporations own more than 50% of the capital or profits interests. For more information on related persons, see Nondeductible Loss under Sales and Exchanges Between Related Persons in chapter 2 of Publication 544.

Death of a taxpayer.   If a taxpayer dies after having a gain, but before buying replacement property, the gain must be reported for the year in which the decedent realized the gain. The executor of the estate or the person succeeding to the funds from the involuntary conversion cannot postpone reporting the gain by buying replacement property.

Replacement Property

You must buy replacement property for the specific purpose of replacing your property. Your replacement property must be similar or related in service or use to the property it replaces. You do not have to use the same funds you receive as reimbursement for your old property to acquire the replacement property. If you spend the money you receive for other purposes, and borrow money to buy replacement property, you can still choose to postpone reporting the gain if you meet the other requirements. Property you acquire by gift or inheritance does not qualify as replacement property.

Owner-user.   If you are an owner-user, similar or related in service or use means that replacement property must function in the same way as the property it replaces. Examples of property that functions in the same way as the property it replaces are a home that replaces another home, a dairy cow that replaces another dairy cow, and farm land that replaces other farm land. A grinding mill that replaces a tractor does not qualify. Neither does a breeding or draft animal that replaces a dairy cow.

Soil or other environmental contamination.   If, because of soil or other environmental contamination, it is not feasible for you to reinvest your insurance money or other proceeds from destroyed or damaged livestock in property similar or related in service or use to the livestock, you can treat other property (including real property) used for farming purposes, as property similar or related in service or use to the destroyed or damaged livestock.

Weather-related conditions.   If, because of drought, flood, or other weather-related conditions, it is not feasible for you to reinvest the insurance money or other proceeds in property similar or related in service or use to the livestock, you can treat other property (excluding real property) used for farming purposes, as property similar or related in service or use to the livestock you disposed of.

Example.

Each year you normally sell 25 cows from your beef herd. However, this year you had to sell 50 cows. This is because a severe drought significantly reduced the amount of hay and pasture yield needed to feed your herd for the rest of the year. Because, as a result of the severe drought, it is not feasible for you to use the proceeds from selling the extra cows to buy new cows, you can treat other property (excluding real property) used for farming purposes, as property similar or related in service or use to the cows you sold.

Standing crop destroyed by casualty.   If a storm or other casualty destroyed your standing crop and you use the insurance money to acquire either another standing crop or a harvested crop, this purchase qualifies as replacement property. The costs of planting and raising a new crop qualify as replacement costs for the destroyed crop only if you use the crop method of accounting (discussed in chapter 2). In that case, the costs of bringing the new crop to the same level of maturity as the destroyed crop qualify as replacement costs to the extent they are incurred during the replacement period.

Timber loss.   Standing timber (not land) you bought with the proceeds from the sale of timber downed as a result of a casualty, such as high winds, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions, qualifies as replacement property. If you bought the standing timber within the replacement period, you can postpone reporting the gain.

Business or income-producing property located in a federally declared disaster area.   If your destroyed business or income-producing property was located in a federally declared disaster area, any tangible replacement property you acquire for use in any business is treated as similar or related in service or use to the destroyed property. For more information, see Disaster Area Losses in Publication 547.

Substituting replacement property.   Once you have acquired qualified replacement property that you designate as replacement property in a statement attached to your tax return, you cannot substitute other qualified replacement property. This is true even if you acquire the other property within the replacement period. However, if you discover that the original replacement property was not qualified replacement property, you can, within the replacement period, substitute the new qualified replacement property.

Basis of replacement property.   You must reduce the basis of your replacement property (its cost) by the amount of postponed gain. In this way, tax on the gain is postponed until you dispose of the replacement property.

Example.

In 2014, you sold 50 cows with a $0 basis due to severe drought. This is more than the 25 cows you normally sell each year. The proceeds from the sale of additional 25 cows are $62,500. Because of the severe drought, it is not feasible for you to use these proceeds to buy new cows. Instead, you use the proceeds to buy a cattle watering system for $70,000. You choose to postpone reporting the $62,500 gain ($62,500 – $0) from the sale of the cows. Therefore, the basis of the cattle watering system is $7,500 ($70,000 – $62,500).

Replacement Period

To postpone reporting your gain, you must buy replacement property within a specified period of time. This is the replacement period.

The replacement period begins on the date your property was damaged, destroyed, stolen, sold, or exchanged. The replacement period generally ends 2 years after the close of the first tax year in which you realize any part of your gain from the involuntary conversion.

Example.

You are a calendar year taxpayer. Farm equipment that cost $2,200 was stolen from your farm. You discovered the theft when you returned to your farm on November 11, 2013. Your insurance company investigated the theft and did not settle your claim until January 5, 2014, when they paid you $3,000. You first realized a gain from the reimbursement for the theft during 2014, so you have until December 31, 2016, to replace the property.

Main home in disaster area.   For your main home (or its contents) located in a federally declared disaster area, the replacement period ends 4 years after the close of the first tax year in which you realize any part of your gain from the involuntary conversion. See Disaster Area Losses , later.

Property in the Midwestern disaster areas.   For property located in the Midwestern disaster areas (as defined in Pub. 4492-B, Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas) that was destroyed, damaged, stolen, or condemned, the replacement period ends 5 years after the close of the first tax year in which any part of your gain is realized. This 5-year replacement period applies only if substantially all of the use of the replacement property is in the Midwestern disaster areas.

Weather-related sales of livestock in an area eligible for federal assistance.   For the sale or exchange of livestock due to drought, flood, or other weather-related conditions in an area eligible for federal assistance, the replacement period ends 4 years after the close of the first tax year in which you realize any part of your gain from the sale or exchange. The IRS may extend the replacement period on a regional basis if the weather-related conditions continue for longer than 3 years.

  For information on extensions of the replacement period because of persistent drought, see Notice 2006-82, 2006-39 I.R.B. 529, available at  
www.irs.gov/irb/2006-39_IRB/ar11.html. For a list of counties for which exceptional, extreme, or severe drought was reported during the 12 months ending August 31, 2014, see Notice 2014-60 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2014-43, available at IRS.gov.

Condemnation.   The replacement period for a condemnation begins on the earlier of the following dates.
  • The date on which you disposed of the condemned property.

  • The date on which the threat of condemnation began.

The replacement period generally ends 2 years after the close of the first tax year in which any part of the gain on the condemnation is realized. But see Main home in disaster area and Property in the Midwestern disaster areas , earlier, for exceptions.

Business or investment real property.   If real property held for use in a trade or business or for investment (not including property held primarily for sale) is condemned, the replacement period ends 3 years after the close of the first tax year in which any part of the gain on the condemnation is realized.

Extension.   You can apply for an extension of the replacement period. Send your written application to the Internal Revenue Service Center where you file your tax return. See your tax return instructions for the address. Include all the details about your need for an extension. Make your application before the end of the replacement period. However, you can file an application within a reasonable time after the replacement period ends if you can show a good reason for the delay. You will get an extension of the replacement period if you can show reasonable cause for not making the replacement within the regular period.

How To Postpone Gain

You postpone reporting your gain by reporting your choice on your tax return for the year you have the gain. You have the gain in the year you receive insurance proceeds or other reimbursements that result in a gain.

Required statement.   You should attach a statement to your return for the year you have the gain. This statement should include all the following information.
  • The date and details of the casualty, theft, or other involuntary conversion.

  • The insurance or other reimbursement you received.

  • How you figured the gain.

Replacement property acquired before return filed.   If you acquire replacement property before you file your return for the year you have the gain, your statement should also include detailed information about all the following items.
  • The replacement property.

  • The postponed gain.

  • The basis adjustment that reflects the postponed gain.

  • Any gain you are reporting as income.

Replacement property acquired after return filed.   If you intend to buy replacement property after you file your return for the year you realize gain, your statement should also say that you are choosing to replace the property within the required replacement period.

  You should then attach another statement to your return for the year in which you buy the replacement property. This statement should contain detailed information on the replacement property. If you acquire part of your replacement property in one year and part in another year, you must attach a statement to each year's return. Include in the statement detailed information on the replacement property bought in that year.

Reporting weather-related sales of livestock.   If you choose to postpone reporting the gain on weather-related sales or exchanges of livestock, show all the following information on a statement attached to your return for the tax year in which you first realize any of the gain.
  • Evidence of the weather-related conditions that forced the sale or exchange of the livestock.

  • The gain realized on the sale or exchange.

  • The number and kind of livestock sold or exchanged.

  • The number of livestock of each kind you would have sold or exchanged under your usual business practice.

  Show all the following information and the preceding information on the return for the year in which you replace the livestock.
  • The dates you bought the replacement property.

  • The cost of the replacement property.

  • Description of the replacement property (for example, the number and kind of the replacement livestock).

Amended return for changes regarding replacement property.   You must file an amended return (Form 1040X) for the tax year of the gain in either of the following situations.
  • You do not acquire replacement property within the replacement period, plus extensions. On this amended return, you must report the gain and pay any additional tax due.

  • You acquire replacement property within the required replacement period, plus extensions, but at a cost less than the amount you receive from the casualty, theft, or other involuntary conversion. On this amended return, you must report the part of the gain that cannot be postponed and pay any additional tax due.

Disaster Area Losses

Special rules apply to federally declared disaster area losses. A federally declared disaster is a disaster that occurred in an area declared by the President to be eligible for federal assistance under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. It includes a major disaster or emergency declaration under the act.

A list of the areas warranting public or individual assistance (or both) under the Act is available at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) web site at www.fema.gov.

This part discusses the special rules for when to deduct a disaster area loss and what tax deadlines may be postponed. For other special rules, see Disaster Area Losses in Publication 547.

When to deduct the loss.   You generally must deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if you have a deductible loss from a disaster that occurred in an area warranting public or individual assistance (or both), you can choose to deduct that loss on your return or amended return for the tax year immediately preceding the tax year in which the disaster happened. If you make this choice, the loss is treated as having occurred in the preceding year.

  
Claiming a qualifying disaster loss on the previous year's return may result in a lower tax for that year, often producing or increasing a cash refund.

  You must make the choice to take your casualty loss for the disaster in the preceding year by the later of the following dates.
  • The due date (without extensions) for filing your tax return for the tax year in which the disaster actually occurred.

  • The due date (with extensions) for the return for the preceding tax year.

Federal disaster relief grants.   Do not include post-disaster relief grants received under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in your income if the grant payments are made to help you meet necessary expenses or serious needs for medical, dental, housing, personal property, transportation, or funeral expenses. Do not deduct casualty losses or medical expenses to the extent they are specifically reimbursed by these disaster relief grants. If the casualty loss was specifically reimbursed by the grant and you received the grant after the year in which you deducted the casualty loss, see Reimbursement received after deducting loss , earlier. Unemployment assistance payments under the Act are taxable unemployment compensation.

Qualified disaster relief payments.   Qualified disaster relief payments are not included in the income of individuals to the extent any expenses compensated by these payments are not otherwise compensated for by insurance or other reimbursement. These payments are not subject to income tax, self-employment tax, or employment taxes (social security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes). No withholding applies to these payments.

  Qualified disaster relief payments include payments you receive (regardless of the source) for the following expenses.
  • Reasonable and necessary personal, family, living, or funeral expenses incurred as a result of a federally declared disaster.

  • Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for the repair or rehabilitation of a personal residence due to a federally declared disaster. (A personal residence can be a rented residence or one you own.)

  • Reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for the repair or replacement of the contents of a personal residence due to a federally declared disaster.

  Qualified disaster relief payments include amounts paid by a federal, state, or local government in connection with a federally declared disaster to individuals affected by the disaster. These payments must be made from a governmental fund, be based on individual or family needs, and not be compensation for services. Payments to businesses generally do not qualify.

  
Qualified disaster relief payments do not include:
  • Payments for expenses otherwise paid for by insurance or other reimbursements, or

  • Income replacement payments, such as payments of lost wages, lost business income, or unemployment compensation.

Qualified disaster mitigation payments.   Qualified disaster mitigation payments made under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act or the National Flood Insurance Act (as in effect on April 15, 2005) are not included in income. These are payments you, as a property owner, receive to reduce the risk of future damage to your property. You cannot increase your basis in property, or take a deduction or credit, for expenditures made with respect to those payments.

Sale of property under hazard mitigation program.   Generally, if you sell or otherwise transfer property, you must recognize any gain or loss for tax purposes unless the property is your main home. You report the gain or deduct the loss on your tax return for the year you realize it. (You cannot deduct a loss on personal-use property unless the loss resulted from a casualty, as discussed earlier.) However, if you sell or otherwise transfer property to the Federal Government, a state or local government, or an Indian tribal government under a hazard mitigation program, you can choose to postpone reporting the gain if you buy qualifying replacement property within a certain period of time. See Postponing Gain , earlier, for the rules that apply.

Other federal assistance programs.    For more information about other federal assistance programs, see Crop Insurance and Crop Disaster Payments and Feed Assistance and Payments in chapter 3 earlier.

Postponed tax deadlines.   The IRS may postpone for up to 1 year certain tax deadlines of taxpayers who are affected by a federally declared disaster. The tax deadlines the IRS may postpone include those for filing income, excise, and employment tax returns, paying income, excise, and employment taxes, and making contributions to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA.

  If any tax deadline is postponed, the IRS will publicize the postponement in your area and publish a news release, revenue ruling, revenue procedure, notice, announcement, or other guidance in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB). Go to www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Relief-in-Disaster-Situations to find out if a tax deadline has been postponed for your area.

Who is eligible.   If the IRS postpones a tax deadline, the following taxpayers are eligible for the postponement.
  • Any individual whose main home is located in a covered disaster area (defined next).

  • Any business entity or sole proprietor whose principal place of business is located in a covered disaster area.

  • Any individual who is a relief worker affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization and who is assisting in a covered disaster area.

  • Any individual, business entity, or sole proprietorship whose records are needed to meet a postponed tax deadline, provided those records are maintained in a covered disaster area. The main home or principal place of business does not have to be located in the covered disaster area.

  • Any estate or trust that has tax records necessary to meet a postponed tax deadline, provided those records are maintained in a covered disaster area.

  • The spouse on a joint return with a taxpayer who is eligible for postponements.

  • Any individual, business entity, or sole proprietorship not located in a covered disaster area, but whose necessary records to meet a postponed tax deadline are located in the covered disaster area.

  • Any individual visiting the covered disaster area who was killed or injured as a result of the disaster.

  • Any other person determined by the IRS to be affected by a federally declared disaster.

Covered disaster area.   This is an area of a federally declared disaster area in which the IRS has decided to postpone tax deadlines for up to 1 year.

Abatement of interest and penalties.   The IRS may abate the interest and penalties on the underpaid income tax for the length of any postponement of tax deadlines.

Reporting Gains and Losses

You will have to file one or more of the following forms to report your gains or losses from involuntary conversions.

Form 4684.   Use this form to report your gains and losses from casualties and thefts.

Form 4797.   Use this form to report involuntary conversions (other than from casualty or theft) of property used in your trade or business and capital assets held in connection with a trade or business or a transaction entered into for profit. Also use this form if you have a gain from a casualty or theft on trade, business or income-producing property held for more than 1 year and you have to recapture some or all of your gain as ordinary income.

Form 8949.   Use this form to report gain from an involuntary conversion (other than from casualty or theft) of personal-use property.

Schedule A (Form 1040).   Use this form to deduct your losses from casualties and thefts of personal-use property and income-producing property, that you reported on Form 4684.

Schedule D (Form 1040).   Use this form to carry over the following gains.
  • Net gain shown on Form 4797 from an involuntary conversion of business property held for more than 1 year.

  • Net gain shown on Form 4684 from the casualty or theft of personal-use property.

   Also use this form to figure the overall gain or loss from transactions reported on Form 8949.

Schedule F (Form 1040).   Use this form to deduct your losses from casualty or theft of livestock or produce bought for sale under Other expenses in Part II, line 32, if you use the cash method of accounting and have not otherwise deducted these losses.


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