If you receive insurance or other reimbursement that is more than
your adjusted basis in the destroyed, damaged, or stolen property, you
have a gain from the casualty or theft. Your gain is figured as
- The amount you receive (discussed later), minus
- Your adjusted basis in the property at the time of the
casualty or theft.
Even if the decrease in FMV of your property is smaller than the
adjusted basis of your property, use your adjusted basis to figure the
Amount you receive.
The amount you receive includes any money plus the value of any
property you receive minus any expenses you have in obtaining
reimbursement. It also includes any reimbursement used to pay off a
mortgage or other lien on the damaged, destroyed, or stolen property.
A hurricane destroyed your personal residence and the insurance
company awarded you $45,000. You received $40,000 in cash. The
remaining $5,000 was paid directly to the holder of a mortgage on the
property. The reimbursement you received includes the $5,000 paid on
Main home destroyed.
If you have a gain because your main home was destroyed, you
generally can exclude the gain from your income as if you had sold or
exchanged your home. For information on this exclusion, see
If your gain is more than the amount you can exclude,
but you buy replacement property, you may be able to postpone the
excess gain. See Postponement of Gain, later.
Reporting a gain.
You generally must report your gain as income in the year you
receive the reimbursement. But you do not have to report your gain if
you meet certain requirements and choose to postpone the gain
according to the rules explained under Postponement of Gain,
For information on how to report a gain, see How To Report
Gains and Losses, later.
If you have a casualty or theft gain on personal-use property that
you choose to postpone (as explained next) and you also have another
casualty or theft loss on personal-use property, do not consider the
gain you are postponing when figuring your casualty or theft loss
deduction. See 10% Rule under Deduction Limits,
Postponement of Gain
Do not report a gain if you receive reimbursement in the form of
property similar or related in service or use to the destroyed or
stolen property. Your basis in the new property is the same as your
adjusted basis in the property it replaces.
You must ordinarily report the gain on your stolen or destroyed
property if you receive money or unlike property as reimbursement. But
you can choose to postpone reporting the gain if you purchase property
that is similar or related in service or use to the stolen or
destroyed property within a specified replacement period, discussed
later. You can also choose to postpone reporting the gain if you
purchase a controlling interest (at least 80%) in a corporation owning
property that is similar or related in service or use to the property.
See Controlling interest in a corporation, later.
If you have a gain on damaged property, you can postpone the gain
if you spend the reimbursement to restore the property.
To postpone all the gain, the cost of your replacement property
must be at least as much as the reimbursement you receive. If the cost
of the replacement property is less than the reimbursement, you must
include the gain in your income up to the amount of the unspent
In 1955, you bought an oceanfront cottage for your personal use at
a cost of $8,000. You made no further improvements or additions to it.
When a storm destroyed the cottage this January, the cottage was worth
$250,000. You received $146,000 from the insurance company in March.
You had a gain of $138,000 ($146,000 - $8,000).
You spent $144,000 to rebuild the cottage. Since this is less than
the insurance proceeds received, you must include $2,000 ($146,000
- $144,000) in your income.
Buying replacement property from a related person.
You cannot postpone reporting a gain from a casualty or theft if
you buy the replacement property from a related person (discussed
later). This rule applies to casualties and thefts occurring
after the following dates.
- February 5, 1995, for C corporations and partnerships in
which more than 50% of the capital or profits interest is owned by C
- June 8, 1997, for all others (including individuals,
partnerships --other than those in (1) above-- and S
corporations) if the total realized gain for the tax year on all
destroyed or stolen properties on which there are realized gains is
more than $100,000.
For casualties and thefts described in (2) above, gains cannot
be offset by any losses when determining whether the total gain is
more than $100,000. If the property is owned by a partnership, the
$100,000 limit applies to the partnership and each partner. If the
property is owned by an S corporation, the $100,000 limit applies to
the S corporation and each shareholder.
This rule does not apply if the related person acquired the
property from an unrelated person within the period of time allowed
for replacing the destroyed or stolen property.
Under this rule, related persons include, for example, a
corporation and an individual who owns more than 50% of its
outstanding stock, and two partnerships in which the same C
corporations own more than 50% of the capital or profits interests.
For more information on related persons, see Nondeductible Loss
under Sales and Exchanges Between Related Persons in
chapter 2 of Publication 544.
Making the replacement.
You must buy replacement property for the specific purpose of
replacing your destroyed or stolen property. Property you acquire as a
gift or inheritance does not qualify.
You do not have to use the same funds you receive as reimbursement
for your old property to acquire the replacement property. If you
spend the money you receive from the insurance company for other
purposes, and borrow money to buy replacement property, you can still
postpone the gain if you meet the other requirements.
If you pay a contractor in advance to replace your destroyed or
stolen property, you are not considered to have bought replacement
property unless it is finished before the end of the replacement
period. See Replacement period, later.
Replacement property must be similar or related in service or use
to the property it replaces.
Standing timber you bought with the proceeds from the sale of
timber downed by a casualty (such as high winds, earthquakes, or
volcanic eruptions) qualifies as replacement property. If you bought
the standing timber within the specified replacement period, you can
postpone reporting the gain.
If you are an owner-user, similar or related in service or use
means that replacement property must function in the same way as the
property it replaces.
Your home was destroyed by fire and you invested the insurance
proceeds in a grocery store. Your replacement property is not similar
or related in service or use to the destroyed property. To be similar
or related in service or use, your replacement property must also be
used by you as your home.
Main home in disaster area.
Special rules apply to replacement property related to the damage
to or destruction of your main home (or its contents) if located in a
federally declared disaster area. See Disaster Area Losses,
If you are an owner-investor, similar or related in service or use
means that any replacement property must have the same relationship of
services or uses to you as the property it replaces. You decide this
by determining the following.
- Whether the properties are of similar service to you.
- The nature of the business risks connected with the
- What the properties demand of you in the way of management,
service, and relations to your tenants.
You owned land and a building you rented to a manufacturing
company. The building was destroyed by fire. During the replacement
period, you had a new building constructed. You rented out the new
building for use as a wholesale grocery warehouse. Because the
replacement property is also rental property, the two properties are
considered similar or related in service or use if there is a
similarity in the following areas.
- Your management activities.
- The amount and kind of services you provide to your
- The nature of your business risks connected with the
Business or income-producing property located in a federal
If your destroyed business or income-producing property was located
in a federally declared disaster area, any tangible replacement
property you acquire for use in a business is treated as similar or
related in service or use to the destroyed property. For more
information, see Disaster Area Losses, later.
Controlling interest in a corporation.
You can replace property by acquiring a controlling interest in a
corporation that owns property similar or related in service or use to
your damaged, destroyed, or stolen property. You can postpone the tax
on your entire gain if the cost of the stock that gives you
controlling interest is at least as much as the amount realized
(reimbursement) for your property. You have controlling interest if
you own stock having at least 80% of the combined voting power of all
classes of voting stock and at least 80% of the total number of shares
of all other classes of stock.
Basis adjustment to corporation's property.
For casualties or thefts, the basis of property held by the
corporation at the time you acquired control must be reduced by the
amount of your postponed gain, if any. You are not required to reduce
the adjusted bases of the corporation's properties below your adjusted
basis in the corporation's stock (determined after reduction by the
amount of your postponed gain).
Allocate this reduction to the following classes of property in the
order shown below.
- Property that is similar or related in service or use to the
destroyed or stolen property.
- Depreciable property not reduced in (1) above.
- All other property.
If two or more properties fall in class (1), (2), or (3),
allocate the reduction to each property in proportion to the adjusted
bases of all the properties in that class. The reduced basis of any
single property cannot be less than zero.
Main home replaced.
If your gain from a casualty loss of your main home is more than
the amount you can exclude from your income (see Main home
destroyed under Figuring a Gain, earlier), you can
postpone the excess gain by buying replacement property that is
similar or related in service or use. To postpone all the gain, the
replacement property must cost at least as much as the amount you
received from the casualty minus the excluded gain.
You must reduce the basis of your replacement property by the
amount of postponed gain. Also, if you postpone any part of your gain
under these rules, you are treated as having owned and used the
replacement property as your main home for the period you owned and
used the destroyed property as your main home.
Basis of replacement property.
Your basis in replacement property is its cost minus any gain
postponed. In this way, tax on the gain is postponed until you dispose
of the replacement property.
A fire destroyed your home. The insurance company reimbursed you
$67,000 for the property, which had an adjusted basis of $62,000. You
had a gain of $5,000 from the casualty. If you have another home
constructed for $70,000 within the time limit, you can postpone
reporting the gain. You will have reinvested all the reimbursement
(including your entire gain) in your new home. Your basis for the new
home will be $65,000 ($70,000 cost - $5,000 postponed gain).
To postpone reporting your gain, you must buy replacement property
within a specified period of time. This is the "replacement period."
The replacement period begins
on the date your property was damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
The replacement period ends
2 years after the close of the first tax year in which any part of
your gain is realized.
Main home in disaster area.
For your main home (or its contents) located in a federally
declared disaster area, the replacement period ends 4 years after the
close of the first tax year in which any part of your gain is
realized. See Disaster Area Losses, later.
You are a calendar year taxpayer. A hurricane destroyed your home
in September 2000. In December 2000, the insurance company paid you
$3,000 more than the adjusted basis of your home. The area in which
your home is located is not a federally declared disaster area.
Because you first realized a gain from the reimbursement for the
casualty in 2000, you have until December 31, 2002, to replace the
property. If your home had been in a federally declared disaster area,
you would have until December 31, 2004, to replace the property.
You are a calendar year taxpayer. While you were on vacation, a
valuable piece of antique furniture that cost $2,200 was stolen from
your home. You discovered the theft when you returned home on August
11, 2000. Your insurance company investigated the theft and did not
settle your claim until January 3, 2001, when they paid you $3,000.
Because you first realized a gain from the reimbursement for the theft
during 2001, you have until December 31, 2003, to replace the
You may get an extension of the replacement period if you apply to
the director of the Internal Revenue Service for your area. Your
application must contain all the details about the need for the
extension. You should make the application before the end of the
However, you can file an application within a reasonable time after
the replacement period ends if you have a good reason for the delay.
An extension may be granted if you can show that there is reasonable
cause for not making the replacement within the regular period.
Ordinarily, requests for extensions are not made or granted until
near the end of the replacement period or the extended replacement
period. Extensions are usually limited to a period of not more than 1
year. The high market value or scarcity of replacement property is not
sufficient grounds for granting an extension. If your replacement
property is being constructed and you clearly show that the
replacement or restoration cannot be made within the replacement
period, you may be granted an extension of the period.
Table 3. When to deduct a loss
How To Postpone a Gain
You postpone your gain from a casualty or theft by reporting your
choice on your tax return for the year you have the gain. You have the
gain in the year you receive insurance proceeds or other
reimbursements that result in a gain.
If a partnership or a corporation owns the stolen or destroyed
property, only the partnership or corporation can choose to postpone
You should attach a statement to your return for the year you have
the gain. This statement should include the following information.
- The date and details of the casualty or theft.
- The insurance or other reimbursement you received from the
casualty or theft.
- How you figured the gain.
Replacement property acquired before return filed.
If you acquire replacement property before you file your return for
the year you have the gain, your statement should also include
detailed information about all of the following.
- The replacement property.
- The postponed gain.
- The basis adjustment that reflects the postponed
- Any gain you are reporting as income.
Replacement property acquired after return filed.
If you intend to acquire replacement property after you file your
return for the year in which you have the gain, your statement should
also state that you are choosing to replace the property within the
required replacement period.
You should then attach another statement to your return for the
year in which you acquire the replacement property. This statement
should contain detailed information on the replacement property.
If you acquire part of your replacement property in one year and
part in another year, you must make a statement for each year. The
statement should contain detailed information on the replacement
property bought in that year.
Substituting replacement property.
Once you have acquired qualified replacement property that you
designate as replacement property, you cannot later substitute other
qualified replacement property. This is true even if you acquire the
other property within the replacement period. The designation is made
by the statement with your return reporting that you have acquired
replacement property. However, if you discover that the original
replacement property was not qualified replacement property, you can
(within the replacement period) substitute the new qualified
You must file an amended return (individuals use Form
1040X) for the tax year of the gain in either of the following
- You do not acquire replacement property within the required
replacement period. On this amended return, you must report the gain
and pay any additional tax due.
- You acquire replacement property within the required
replacement period but at a cost less than the amount you receive from
the casualty or theft. On this amended return, you must report the
portion of the gain that cannot be postponed and pay any additional
The period for assessing tax on any gain ends 3 years after the
date you notify the director of the Internal Revenue Service for your
area of any of the following.
- You replaced the property.
- You do not intend to replace the property.
- You did not replace the property within the specified period
Death of a taxpayer.
If a taxpayer dies after having a gain but before buying
replacement property, the gain must be reported for the year in which
the decedent realized the gain. The executor of the estate or the
person succeeding to the funds from the casualty or theft cannot
postpone the gain by buying replacement property.
Changing your mind.
You can change your mind about whether to report or to postpone
your gain at any time before the end of the replacement period.
Your property was stolen last year. Your insurance company
reimbursed you $10,000, of which $5,000 was a gain. You reported the
$5,000 gain on your return for last year (the year you realized the
gain) and paid the tax due. This year you bought replacement property
within the replacement period. Your replacement property cost $9,000.
Since you reinvested all but $1,000 of your reimbursement, you can now
postpone $4,000 ($5,000 - $1,000) of your gain.
To postpone your gain, file an amended return for last year using
Form 1040X. You should attach an explanation showing that you
previously reported the entire gain from the theft but you now want to
report only the part of the gain ($1,000) equal to the part of the
reimbursement not spent for replacement property.
Previous | First | Next
Publication Index | 2000 Tax Help Archives | Tax Help Archives | Home