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Author Topic: Florida hurricane tax write offs?  (Read 1542 times)

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Offline Pete J

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Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« on: February 22, 2005, 08:00:51 PM »
Hi All,

I have a Tax guy in Connecticut trying to advise a client in Florida. Maybe some of you could help. The guy in Florida lost 10 trees during the past hurricane season which pretty much wiped out his landscaping. He lost about 7 mature palm trees and 3 mature Florida pines. His homeowners casualty insurance only covered the cost of the replacement baby trees. Does anyone know a rule of thumb way to calculate the value of the mature trees that were lost. I'm not looking for rocket science answers, just some kind of ballpark way to calculate it. He thought it might only apply to areas that the government declared a disaster area, which applies here.

Any thoughts?

Pete


Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2005, 09:18:39 PM »
There are "detailed" methods for determining the values of landscape trees. Here in Michigan we use the Trunk Formula Method, usually for trees over 7.5 inches trunk diameter.

Most states have an accepted method to be applied by a "certified" arborist in the state. Check with the local Florida Extension Service or a local "certified" arborist, or contact the International Society of Arborists for information.

Information and some help might be found at http://www.floridaisa.org
~Ron

Offline DanG

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2005, 10:39:33 PM »
I ain't sure, but I don't think they pay for the trees themselves, just the damage they cause when they fall.  I would hope that they wait until everybody has a roof over their head before they worry about this arrogant %$*^*^%'s  DanG trees!  A good part of Florida is still a sea of blue tarps. >:( >:(

(somehow, I suddenly feel inadequate as a cussword.)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline Pete J

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2005, 05:26:04 PM »
DanG?

I don't understand?

My buddy just paid $12k to get the blue tarps off his house. His insurance guy wouldn't pay because he said "Disaster Area" rules of some sort apply to his situation. If his insurance policy that he was paying for covered him for this, he wouldn't be looking for some tax loophole.

How would you handle 12k out of pocket?

Offline DanG

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2005, 08:21:25 PM »
Pete, let me first apologize for my ill-placed rant. :-[  It was late, and I was half asleep. I shoulda been all the way asleep, obviously.  You were saying IRS deduction, and I was thinking insurance payoff.

That being said, I still have a problem with people that seek "recovery" for every little misfortune that happens to befall them.  Things happen!  We should all be prepared, mentally and emotionally, to lose some of the things we have, even if that loss is through no fault of our own.  I just don't think it is fair to try and pass that loss off on everybody else.  I'm sorry the guy lost his landscape trees, but that is a mere aesthetic damage that can be overcome with a minimum of creativity and expense.

I'm no big fan of the insurance companies, but they have had to shuck out many, many billions of dollars to pay for the damages the hurricanes caused in Florida.  Those of us who had no damage, including you, will have to pay higher premiums because of it.  Tax loopholes work the same way.  If he gets a big tax break for his lawn decorations, the rest of us have to pay a little more taxes to make up for it.  If this tendency towards not being responsible for our own misfortunes continues, we will be a truly bankrupt nation, in short order!

Now, back to my limp excuses for the rant.  I have been going through a conflict with a close friend of mine.  Keep in mind that he is a really good friend that I have enjoyed swapping help with for a number of years.  But, he is crooked of heart.  A few weeks ago, he burned down his shed, through his own stupidity and carelessness.  This shed was made from some metal panels that were given to him.  In the shed was a worn out Murray lawn mower. It was 10 years old, and burned more oil than gas, but it became a 2004 John Deere in the settlement.  His air compressor, which he bought at auction for less than $100, was suddenly worth $1000!  In short, he bilked the Ins. Co. out of $9000, and if his losses totalled $1000, I'll kiss your foot!  HE, and those like him, are the reason I can't even afford to insure my home, and I resent it! >:(
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Online Cedarman

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2005, 08:49:59 PM »
DanG, am I interpreting this right?  The best insurance is self insurance or a huge deductible to cover the actual big losses.  If we self insure, we tend to be more careful with our stuff and not live in flood plains.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline Pete J

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2005, 09:05:23 PM »
Whew! The real DanG that I know is BACK!

I agree with you on where you stand. The deal with my buddy is that his insurance would have paid his claim for storm damage if his area had not been declared a disaster area. With that one little government tidbit, the insurance guy wiggled out and put it in the hands of my buddy and the government. It seems like the insurance companies are getting the best deal. Sell policies that are invalid during a disaster. I'm sure they won't be lining up to return the premiums he paid in anytime soon. He wasn't out to screw the insurance company. He lives in Florida and is familiar with the weather i.e. hurricanes. He knew what his policy was supposed to cover. It's all in the fine print now.

Anyway, thanks. Your input really does mean a lot to me.

Offline DanG

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Re: Florida hurricane tax write offs?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2005, 09:16:07 PM »
IMNSH opinion, self insurance of the things you can afford to replace is best.  For the things you can't afford, such as your home and expensive vehicles, your deductible should be as high as you can afford.  I just don't think we need to be recompensed for every little misfortune.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."


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