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Old 01-31-2018, 02:21 AM
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Post 2016 Amendment Federal Disaster Tax Assistance Please!

Good evening! I have some questions about amendment filing.
First, backstory. Please bare with me...

Our family of 6 were severely affected by Hurricane Harvey this past summer. Our residence is located in one of the few counties in Texas that were placed under mandatory evacuation. We had only been in our custom 'dream' home 19 months when flood waters (coupled with sewage) rose (and lingered for 4 days) to more than 5 feet in side our home (in just under 2 hours) and over 12 feet outside, literally swallowing our 2 vehicles, newly purchased playscape (for our terminally ill/special needs son), as well as 95% of our belongings. We saved 3 years for the down payment on our home adding custom touches with our sons illness progression in mind (wide open areas, roll in shower, orientation/mobility guidance alerts. Since he can no longer see, the home was designed as a large 1.5 story...only a media room and 1 bd/bath up stairs. Needless to say...we lost more than most of our neighbors.

We moved from temp housing to temp housing for 6 weeks. In order to care for my terminally ill son, I worked from home as a Program Director for a software development company. My home office and every thing in it (~$20K + worth of business equipment, client projects/hardware, etc) was completely destroyed. All of my sons medical equipment (braille machine, bed, wheelchair, medication, etc)...gone. Our eldest sons baseball equipment (select baseball player - graduating in May to play college baseball in the fall)...thousands of $...ruined.

Like most affected, we did not have flood insurance and our homeowners insurance would not even accept the claim we filed; nothing would be covered/reimbursable.

My common law husband (HFD Firefighter), was docked pay for not being able to call/show up for work (we were stuck in our home for 4 days without electricity, cell phone, ability to walk out the front door). I ended up losing my job 2 months after the hurricane because I was unable to work. Our children lost everything...and I mean everything...although FEMA came out and did an appraisal, they ran out of money before getting to our claim. My friends took up a collection for us that raised $10K, which we used to gut the interior of the damaged home and secure a rental home.

After all is said and done, the restoration quotes add up to $137,349 - minimum bid with 18 months to complete the work. Our entire home needs to be rewired (brand new electrical system), new drywall entire first floor, replacement of 10 of 20 wooden stairs, rebuild entire kitchen (sink, counters, appliances, cupboards), 2700 square feet of wood flooring, carpet, replace pest treatment system, new fireplace, 2 new AC units, replace all doors, toilets (3), tubs (3), garage door, fence, landscape, 22 windows, mold treatment and cleanup. The $ amount does not include belongings, furnishings, or vehicles.

Home was purchased for $478K 11/2015; $35K down. Prior to the flood, the home was valued at $452K and today, in its current condition, the value is $205K. We still owe $419K on the home. Now, my questions...

(1) Although we purchased the home together, my 'hubby' and I are not legally married so we file our taxes separately. How would we go about amending both our 2016 taxes to reflect the disaster/loss? Or should only one of file an amendment?

(2) Is there anything we need to do BEFORE filing the amendment? What documents/documentation do we need to provide with the amendment? Itemized list of belongings lost? Photos, FEMA file, appraisals, receipts, quotes/bids, etc? We have over 300 photos, how would we provide these, CD or cloud shared folder?

(3) Our losses supersede our annual income. What should we be aware of in this situation? Anything special we need to account for or include?

(4) Both vehicles were totaled. But insurance only paid out FMV for 1; leaving us still owing $4500 after insurance pay out to lender. The other vehicle was not covered under Comprehensive, so we are on the hook for $16K for the second vehicle. Since we had total loss claims on these vehicles, our insurance skyrocketed for our replacement vehicles; $145 per month to $409 (cheapest we could find). What is the best way to account for the vehicle loss? Anything we can do on the inflated insurance rates?

(5) Anything we can do/claim for the lost wages from HFD?

(6) Is there any way to fast track our refund in order continue the repairs to the property?

(7) Do we need to claim the $10K raised/donated to us on the amendment?

I think that covers it. Thank so much in advance and SO SORRY for my winded entry.

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