12 Days Of Tax Deductions

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Over the next 12 days, Morning Edition will take a closer look at the biggest federal tax deductions: how they came about, who benefits and how they might be affected by "fiscal cliff" negotiations. We begin with the casualty loss deduction.



Ah, 'tis the season for gift giving. And some feel Congress could give us no greater gift than a budget deal that would keep our economy from going off the fiscal cliff.

One idea to raise revenue: reduce the deductions, credits, and other benefits that taxpayers now enjoy.


So, in the spirit of this deficit deadline season, we are going to consider them too. It's our 12 Days of Deductions.


MONTAGNE: Today, we start with the casualty loss deduction. It's an age-old tax break and it's aimed at helping people whose homes or property are damaged by natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy.

BARBARA WELTMAN: Anything that insurance doesn't cover, including the deductible and other amounts for the property damage or loss is considered a loss that you can deduct.

GREENE: That's Barbara Weltman. She's a contributing editor to J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax 2013."

WELTMAN: But you have to pass that 10 percent of adjusted gross income threshold in order to get any benefit and you do have to itemize.

MONTAGNE: Translation: You can't deduct your entire out of pocket loss.

GREENE: But it is important to note that if you are in an area declared a federal disaster zone, you can amend your previous year's return. So claim the deductions for last year, get the refund this year, and that's cash that can help you rebuild.

MONTAGNE: Tomorrow, we look at a tax break aimed at making education more affordable. It's the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from