Publication 584: Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook Personal-Use Property

Publication 584, also known as the Casualty, Disaster, and Theft Loss Workbook (Personal-Use Property), is an IRS resource designed to help taxpayers calculate potential deductions for losses incurred on personal belongings due to unforeseen events. This workbook guides you through estimating the financial impact of casualties (fire, flood, etc.), disasters (federally declared events), and thefts.

While Publication 584 offers valuable worksheets, it's important to understand that it's not an actual tax form. The information you gather using this workbook will be used to complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, which is the official IRS document used to report these losses on your tax return.

Who Should Use Publication 584?

This workbook is beneficial for taxpayers who have experienced a casualty, disaster, or theft and are considering claiming a deduction on their tax return. It can be particularly helpful if:

  • You've suffered significant damage or loss of personal belongings.
  • You're unsure about the tax implications of your situation.
  • You want assistance calculating the deductible portion of your loss.

What events qualify as a casualty or disaster for tax purposes?

The IRS defines a casualty as an unexpected event, such as a fire, flood, or storm, that damages or destroys your property. A disaster is a federally declared event causing significant damage.

What types of personal-use property are covered?

Publication 584 focuses on losses to personal belongings within your main home, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, and appliances. It can also be used for personal vehicles. However, losses to business property or investment assets are not covered by this workbook.

What if my loss wasn't from a federally declared disaster?

Unfortunately, under current regulations, personal casualty and theft losses not associated with a federally declared disaster are generally not deductible. However, if you have personal casualty gains that offset your losses, you may be able to claim a deduction (consult Publication 547 for details).

How do I use Publication 584?

This workbook provides worksheets to calculate the fair market value of your property before and after the casualty, disaster, or theft. The difference represents your potential loss. Publication 584 does not replace the official tax form. You will need to use the information gathered in the workbook to complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, when filing your tax return.

Are there limitations on claiming casualty or disaster losses?

Yes. There are two limitations:

A. $100 per casualty: You can't deduct the first $100 of loss for each separate casualty event.

B. 10% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI): You can only deduct the portion of your total loss that exceeds 10% of your AGI.

Exception: Losses attributed to federally declared disasters have different rules. You can deduct these losses without meeting the 10% of AGI limitation, but the $100 per casualty limit still applies.

Where can I find Publication 584?

You can download Publication 584 for free attached below.