Understanding Loss Deductions for Timber
Forestland owners whose timber has been destroyed may be eligible to take a deduction for the loss on their federal income tax. The loss must be physical in nature and caused by an identifiable event or combination of events that has run its course. There are two types of losses from natural events. Casualty losses are sudden, unexpected, and unusual - as from a fire, storm, or earthquake. Noncasualty losses are not sudden but are unexpected and unusual as from a severe insect attack drought or disease. A deduction is allowed only if the damage renders the timber unfit for use. Normal levels of losses are a cost of doing business and cannot be deducted.