My home in Ocean County was severely damaged in Hurricane Sandy. As if the destruction and cost of rebuilding aren't enough to worry about, let alone the lack of response from flood-insurance and homeowners-insurance companies, I quickly became aware of another huge potential problem.
Sandy's destruction to real and personal property qualifies for a "casualty loss" deduction under the tax code. However, the way the law is written now, the calculation of the amount of the casualty loss is determined by reducing such losses by 10 percent of taxpayers' adjusted gross income. This 10 percent reduction of the casualty loss may eliminate or substantially reduce the deduction so that the cost of the devastation provides no tax relief whatsoever.
After Katrina and other storms, Congress waived the 10 percent reduction for tax years 2008 through 2010. Weeks ago, I wrote to U.S. Reps. Jon Runyan, R-3rd, and Frank Lobiondo, R-2nd, along with Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both D-N.J., requesting that they immediately get legislation enacted to give the taxpayers of New Jersey the same tax relief as given the victims of Katrina.
A bill to provide this tax relief - the "Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief Act of 2012" - was introduced but not acted on. Please write to your members of Congress and insist that they get this legislation passed for the people who elected them.
MARYROSE A. MANGAN