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February '18

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194 • RV PRO • February 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S Losses and Tax Write-Offs Tax write-offs can help mitigate losses associated with natural disasters, such as the hurricanes and flooding experienced by parts of the country in 2017. By Mark E. Battersby Mark E. Battersby is a freelance writer who has specialized in taxes and finance for the past 25 years. Working from Ardmore, Pa., Battersby writes for publications in a variety of fields, syndicates two weekly columns that appear in more than 65 publications and has written four books. Notably, under present tax rules, any loss sustained during the taxable year or a loss not covered or "made good" by insurance or the government, can be claimed as a tax deduction. L osses come in many shapes and forms. There are losses that result from natural disasters, losses caused by dishonest employees and/ or customers, financial losses from bad busi- ness decisions or a poor economy. Although insurance, such as so-called "business contin- uation insurance" provides protection from some losses, it is our tax laws that can really help reduce the bite of losses. Surprisingly, many RV business professionals are actually profiting from their losses. That's right, taking full advantage of and correctly using our tax laws that apply to the losses of an RV business can mean business survival and, in many cases, profits. Casualty Losses Today, cyber fraud, theft losses and embez- zlement appear to be taking a backseat to storm and wildfire-generated "casualty losses." Casualty losses are the damage or complete destruction of property caused by fire, theft, vandalism, floods, earthquakes, terrorism or some other sudden, unexpected or unusual event. Of course, in order to be tax deductible, there must be some external force involved for a loss to be accepted as a casualty loss under our tax laws. What's more, a casualty loss deduction can be claimed only to the extent that the loss is not covered by insurance or otherwise reimbursed. In other words, if the loss is fully covered, no tax deduction is available.

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