Tax tip for retired first responders

IRSEarlier we wrote about tax provisions that could reduce federal taxes for those who had property losses during the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California.

There is another federal tax program that can save retirees money. It applies to retired public safety officers, defined by the IRS as “law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew”. Basically, you don’t have to pay taxes on money from your retirement annuity that is used to buy health or long-term care insurance. The premiums, up to $3,000, can be for coverage for you, your spouse, or dependents.

Here are a few more details from IRS Publication 721 (page 18):

IRS Public Safety Officer tax insurance

Publication 721, on page 1 and 2, also describes another benefit for federal firefighters and other public safety federal employees related to early distributions from a governmental plan, spousal benefits, and annuities received by the spouse, former spouse, or child of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim. Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Tax relief for victims of November 8 wildfires in California

Applies to victims of the Camp and Woolsey Fires

IRSPeople who reside in or had businesses in the areas that burned in the wildfires that started in California on November 8, 2018 could qualify for federal tax relief.

The Camp and Woolsey Fires destroyed thousands of homes in Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Since the President declared the fires to be major disasters residents with losses in those locations may be able to take advantage of slightly extended deadlines for filing federal tax returns.

In addition, taxpayers in the federally declared disaster areas have the option of claiming disaster-related casualty losses on their federal income tax return for either the year in which the event occurred, or the prior year. See IRS Publication 547 for details. IRS Publication 976 has instructions for tax relief for the California fires of 2017.

Individuals may deduct personal property losses that are not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. IRS Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, has more details.

General information about the program can be found at the IRS website.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Jim. Typos or errors, report them HERE.