Virginia Beach, Va. (Sept. 9, 2004) -- Liberty Tax Service is offering free 2003 amended tax returns and advice for taxpayers who've suffered casualty losses due to Hurricanes Frances, Charley and Bonnie.

Those suffering property losses in the Florida areas designated by President George W. Bush as federal disaster areas may amend their 2003 tax return to claim the loss so that they can get their refunds sooner, Liberty said.

Taxpayers with casualty losses who are in a designated federal disaster area can either declare their casualty loss on the current-year return, or can choose to deduct the loss on the prior-year return by filing Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Those who decide to deduct a 2004 disaster loss on their 2003 return must do so by April 15, 2005.

Casualty and theft losses for personal property can be claimed as the result of destruction from unanticipated weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes, or from burglaries and break-ins, by filing Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, Section A. Renters may qualify to declare a casualty loss for damaged furniture and property in their residence. Only losses that aren't covered by insurance should be claimed on Form 4684. Business and income-producing properties, such as rental property, are claimed on Form 4684, Section B.

-- WebCPA staff

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