WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mark Pryor has introduced a measure to ensure Arkansas homeowners whose property was destroyed or damaged by last month’s deadly tornadoes qualify for greater tax relief.
Pryor’s legislation would allow survivors of 2014 federally declared disasters in Arkansas, as well as other affected areas, to receive some of the same tax benefits that Congress has granted in previous years after major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
“When natural disasters strike, we need to do everything we can to help our neighbors in need rebuild and recover,” Pryor said. “I’ve been proud to work with local, state, and federal officials to secure disaster relief funding for Arkansas communities that were hit by last month’s tornadoes. This amendment will give these disaster survivors the extra assistance they need to get back on their feet.”
Under current law, victims of disasters must prove that their uncompensated loss exceeds 10 percent of their adjustable gross income, in order to claim a tax deduction. For example, a family with $60,000 income would generally need to have at least $6,000 in damages to get a deduction. Pryor’s measure would remove the minimum threshold, enabling survivors to deduct more of their losses. It would also allow taxpayers to claim disaster losses even if they don’t itemize their deductions, which current law doesn’t permit. Only about 33 percent of Americans itemize their tax returns, meaning current law leaves a greater likelihood of missing those who have incurred major losses. Current law does not extend those benefits to individuals affected in 2014.