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We lost our home in Dec 2017 California fire. It is a

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federally declared disaster. We have...
We lost our home in Dec 2017 California fire. It is a federally declared disaster. We have almost finished our personal property and business loss property spreadsheets. I do not understand how to list the loss on form 4684. It says make copies (dozens?) of the blank form listing 4 items at a time. For business I guess you can group them. What is the proper way to do this?
Submitted: 3 months ago.Category: Capital Gains and Losses
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Answered in 2 days by:
3/29/2018
Tax Expert: Rachel-Mod, Moderator replied 3 months ago
Rachel-Mod
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Hello,
Welcome to JustAnswer. My name is ***** ***** I am the category moderator. I notice that your question has been sitting for a while without a response. Are you still needing help with this matter?
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I do - I have been unable to log on but now obviously I could
Tax Expert: Rachel-Mod, Moderator replied 3 months ago
Thank you for getting back with me. I will open this matter back up to our experts to further assist you. Thank you for your patience.
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I appreciate that though I wonder even with apparently not being able to reach me via email there should already be an answer waiting here? After all this was submitted Mar 27.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
PS The online customer service/chat is useless. Maybe someone gets back to you after an hour...
Tax Expert: James Daloisio, Tax Attorney replied 3 months ago
James Daloisio
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Hi, my name is ***** ***** welcome to Just Answer.

Yes, you can group your personal property items into categories: Clothing, Jewelry, Furniture, Housewares, Appliances, Tools, Cars, etc. You aren't required to itemize. Group your categories in both Section A and Section B. I've seen accountants simply list "Contents of Home: See attached" on the 4684, and then attach the spreadsheet.

The key to a properly prepared Form 4684 is making sure your cost basis and fair market value figures are accurate. There are also other considerations when calculating disaster losses. You can elect to take the loss in the prior tax year, which can be beneficial if you end up with an net operating loss.

I see you've been waiting a while for an answer...please let me know if you need more information. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
By cost basis are you referring to what we paid for it or replacement value? Fair market I assume is what would it sell for? Since I'm planning on listing EVERYTHING some items may have no market value, such as silverware for a simple example, whereas replacing actually cost you.
As for filing in a previous year we had a considerable (for us) tax bill in 2016. Does this mean if you filled an amended return and had this offsetting loss we could get back what we paid?
Tax Expert: James Daloisio, Tax Attorney replied 3 months ago

Your basis in property is essentially what you paid for it, or what it's fair market value was if it was a gift to you.

If replacement cost today is the same as what it would have cost when you acquired it, use the replacement cost, or else adjust for depreciation.

And yes, look at Section D of form 4684. You can elect to take the loss in the previous year (2016).

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