Jennifer works in a food-testing laboratory. One day she spent an hour in the freezer moving boxes of food samples. 30 minutes after leaving the freezer, she realized that her $10,000 engagement ring had fallen out. Her and her coworkers searched for the ring for hours. They swept all the ice crystals from the freezer so that they would melt and hopefully reveal the ring. They did not find the ring. She was distressed because her ring was not insured. However, she was furious with her jeweler because he had made the adjustments on the ring to help her avoid such incidences. He argued that subjecting the ring to such extreme temperature may have caused the ring to dismember after hitting one of the boxes. Determine whether Jennifer’s allowed to deduct the loss of the ring as a personal casualty loss.
A casualty is the loss of property because of a sudden event, which may include destruction and damage. These losses must be identifiable, unusual and unexpected. Generally, if the property loss has not been due to theft, but misplacement, it is not tax deductible.
According to the current internal revenue code, (chapter 1 Normal Taxes and Surtaxes &&1-1400u-3 subchapter B computation of taxable income &&61-291), the general rule states that there shall be permitted as a deduction any loss incurred during the taxable year and which is not compensated by insurance. Tax-deductible losses of an individual are limited to the loss of property not associated with a trade or business or a contract entered into for profit, if such losses occur from storm shipwreck, fire or other casualty, or from theft.
Looking at Jennifer’s situation and comparing it to the terms of tax deductions, her case might be arguable. The loss of her ring was unexpected. However, she had not insured her ring, which does not qualify her for a tax deduction. This implies that there are different ways that the case may be viewed.
In a comparable case of Keenan vs. Bowlers, Keenan brought an action against William Bowlers, collector of international revenue for South Carolina, under the international revenue code to recover an alleged erroneous assessment of income taxes on the grounds that Bowlers should have been permitted to deduct as a casualty the loss of diamond rings accidentally flushed in the toilet. The district court held that the loss was not a casualty and was not deductible from income. This action was brought under the internal revenue code 26U. S. C. A & 3772 (a) (2) to recover an alleged erroneous assessment of income taxes.
Jennifer’s ring would qualify as a casualty loss since under her circumstances, she would argue that the adjustments made by her jeweler could have caused part of the problem. Also, given the fact that problems arose after the adjustments had been made, it is reasonable to state that the ring qualifies as a casualty loss. The ring might not have been able to withstand the temperature of the room due to the adjustments made. Therefore, this also confirms the fact that the ring was a casualty.
Since the ring was not insured, she has no way of compensating for her $10000 ring. It is arguable that she would qualify for a casualty loss wherein she can obtain a tax deduction from the loss of the ring. This qualification is subject to the provision of existing laws. Her jeweler might also compensate for damages since he had made significant adjustments to the ring prior to its loss. Therefore, it is correct to conclude that Jennifer qualifies for a casualty loss, tax deductible.