taxes

Tax planning 2011: Smart moves to make now

Claim your disaster losses
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Claim your disaster losses

2011 is shaping up to be one of the most disastrous weather years on record.

Hundreds of tornadoes raked the United States in the spring. Hurricane Irene climbed the Eastern Seaboard, bringing wind damage and devastating floods all the way into New England. Wildfires raged across much of the Southwest. And the surprise October snowstorm was a double whammy for folks in the Northeast.

If you sustained damage from these or any other storms or unexpected catastrophes, you might be eligible for some tax relief.

In cases of major disasters, you can amend your prior year's tax return if that will provide more tax benefits than claiming the losses in the year in which the disaster occurred. This often is a good option for disaster victims who suffered heavy losses and who previously claimed the standard deduction.

If, however, you didn't amend your previous year's tax return to claim storm losses, gather your storm damage records and examine whether claiming them on your 2011 return will save you tax money.


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