question.jpgIn Federal Income Tax

What deductions can I take if I provided housing to Hurricane Katrina evacuees?

If you are a homeowner or a renter and you provided housing to Hurricane Katrina evacuees from, you may be entitled to an additional deduction. There are several requirements which must be met for this deduction to apply - it only applies if you housed the evacuees in your principal residence for at least 60 consecutive days, it only applies to evacuees who were principally residing in the Hurricane Katrina disaster area as of August 28, 2005 and you may not include your spouse or dependants as evacuees (even if they resided in the disaster area).

For each evacuee you housed who meets these requirements, you may claim a $500 deduction from your taxable income. However, there are two limits on this deduction. First, you can only deduct a total amount of $2,000. Thus, if you housed five evacuees, you will not get any deduction for that fifth evacuee. Second, while this deduction applies to your 2005 and 2006 taxes (meaning you can claim it on either your 2005 or 2006 tax returns), it can only be used once. Thus, if you housed four evacuees in 2005 and continued to house them in 2006, you can claim the $2,000 deduction on only one set of tax returns, not both.

Finally, if this deduction applies to you, you may claim it even if you are simply taking the standard deduction (rather than itemizing your deductions).