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House passes tax relief on Hurricane Ian deduction 

May 24, 2024
By Garland Pollard

On May 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.). The legislation, which still needs to be approved by the Senate, ensures that Americans harmed by recent hurricanes, including Hurricane Ian, will receive equal tax treatment.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a formal federal designation is the standard for being able to deduct damages. Hurricane Ian met that test; however, Congress has won extra benefits for other disasters and set them aside for special tax treatment. They call these disasters “qualified.” Disasters that were so designated were Maria, Irma and Harvey, as well as certain California wildfires.

The “qualified” designation is not a characterization of the physical impact. “Qualified” is a term used by the IRS, and it means that you do not have to itemize to claim the deduction, and you do not have a test of 10 percent of your Adjusted Growth Income to take the deduction.

“Floridians in my district are rightly outraged that it has taken Congress more than a year and a half to provide disaster tax relief for Hurricane Ian,” said Steube, in a release. “Thank you to my House colleagues on both ends of the political spectrum for your support. This issue truly transcends political ideology.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranks Hurricane Ian as the third-most costly hurricane in U.S. history. Since 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared over 300 disasters.