Blog

Understand how taxes may apply to your

insurance and SDG&E recoveries

re: 2007 Wildfires

 

In a federally declared disaster, such as the 2007 San Diego Wildfires, special federal and state tax law provisions provide some tax relief for fire victims:

 ·         personal property recovery exempt from tax

·         additional $250,000 per PERSON exclusion on primary residence

·         4 years from fire to file losses

·         reasonable TAX FILINGS EXTENSIONS allowed

 

Not SO good news—ITEMS BELOW are taxed aS ORDINARY INCOME At high rate:

·        EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

·        PUNITIVE DAMAGES

·        LOST WAGES

·        UNSPENT LIVING EXPENSE FUNDS  

Please email your general questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or call CARe at 888-216-8264.

CARe will post TAX FAQs on its website: www.carehelp.org.

 

££££

  To get general disaster tax answers—at no cost to you—from highly qualified DISASTER tax professionals please email your general questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. regarding your 2007 wildfire tax issues. Answers will include the appropriate tax authority citations.

If you were insured by Allstate and had a structural loss between September 6, 1996 and December 6, 2010 then you need to know about this class action lawsuit AND ACT or you might loose your rights to pursue ANY further legal action.

To learn more about what you need to do, please go to www.feelysettlement.com

Please look into this ASAP. Deadlines are comming up very quickly!

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I'd like to take the time to remind disaster survivors who have insurance money held in escrow by their mortgage company to check if you're being paid interest on those funds. Many institutions will pay interest if asked, although it can take asking several different people, or moving up the chain of command at the mortgage company before finding someone who is willing to admit this. 

This is especially true of homeowners who were included in a class action lawsuit settled in November of 2009. Although this settlement was specifically with Countrywide/Bank of America, it has been reported to us by survivors using many other banks and mortgage companies that they also received interest once they persisted.

Here is a clip from an article posted on our site:

A class action filed on behalf of California fire victims against Countrywide Home Loans was settled November 25, 2009 in Los Angeles Superior Court (Van Der Touw v Countrywide, BC392189).

Based on alleged violations of California's Civil Code Section 2954.8, and Business and Professions Code Section 17200, the class action suit claimed that the mortgage lender, Countrywide Home Loans, breached California laws by not paying homeowners the minimum 2% interest on insurance proceeds held by their lender. The code sections apply to state, not federally, chartered institutions.

The practice of withholding interest on monies held from insurance settlement proceeds or escrow account holders amounted to free funds at the expense of diligent homeowners who suffered damages from an insured peril. Individually, no case would have prevailed because any recovery would have been insignificant compared to the costs of litigation.

For more information, click here:
http://www.carehelp.org/component/content/article/902-front-page/130-countrywide-home-loans-settles-fire-victims-class-action-for-interest-payments.html

CARe received grant money through the San Diego Foundation: Disaster Preparedness fund to write a manual on Insurance after a Disaster (also funded by generous donors to CARe). I am writing a small section on Condo's and HOA's after a disaster. Here is where I need your help.

Is there anything you wish you knew, specifically with regards to insurance and your Condo association or HOA. For example, were there things that weren't covered? Was there a special portion of your policy that you had to pay attention to, etc.

Please reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you!

When creating a personal property inventory either for litigation or an insurance claim, it is necessary to document everything that you lost.

If you're having a hard time remembering things in your house, try this technique. Draw a diagram of the room you want to focus on. This does not have to be an accurate drawing and it’s not something you even have to share with anyone. It is simply a mental exercise to help you remember what was in the room.

  1. Divide a piece of paper into four squares (or one for each wall).
  2. Draw in approximately where doors and windows were.
  3. Start drawing what was on each wall.

    For example, there might’ve a chair with a side table near the wall. On the table was a lamp. The lamp had a light bulb and an extension cord. The extension cord was plugged into a 3 way splitter at the outlet. The chair had a throw blanket, a pillow and a pouch where the remote control was stored. The remote control had two AA batteries. The wall behind the chair had a picture and a sconce. The sconce had a candle and was sitting on a little shelf that was hung with two screws and two molly bolts and the picture had a custom frame and was hanging by a picture hanger.

Write all of these things down on your inventory. You'll be amazed how all of those batteries, light bulbs, picture hangers and molly bolts add up!

Also when creating an inventory, we do NOT recommend lumping items together unless the items have the same value.

For example, if you have 100 CD's and they were all about the same quality then you can group them together. If, on the other hand, one of the CD's was rare and had value above and beyond the others, than it should be broken out and listed separately.

Things that should NOT be grouped together simply because they were in the same location like "sewing box full of sewing implements" or "tool box " or even "food pantry". Although when making your initial inventory, you can mark that down as a place holder, you should go back and fill in that blank. You will have a tendency to undervalue that "tool box" and when you go back and itemize you'll get closer to the real value of the things you lost.

Inspirational Quotes

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Testimonials

Thank you again for ALL of your counsel and knowledge and how to 'handle the process' and 'stand your ground'. I couldn't have achieved this victory and restoration without YOUR expertise. You're a valuable resource and friend.

Sayre Fire Survivor, 2008