Flood victims without insurance might qualify for help from the - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Flood victims without insurance might qualify for help from the tax man

A NASA satellite image shows flooding along the Amite River in Louisiana (NASA) A NASA satellite image shows flooding along the Amite River in Louisiana (NASA)

As flood waters rose over the weekend, Nathan Tefort of suburban Baton Rouge evacuated from his home in a truck.

He came back by boat. However, Tefort was one of the lucky ones. The flood stopped just short of his foundation. Many of his neighbors, who never dreamed they would flood, are without insurance.

"There's areas where they're not in a flood plain," Tefort said.  "They've never required insurance and never thought something like this would happen because they're above elevation."

Only 12 percent of Baton Rouge homeowners carried flood insurance, according to the Louisiana Insurance Commissioner's Office. While they cannot be made whole, they may qualify for help from a little known tool.

"You may be able to go back to your 2015 tax return and amend that tax return," said Kemberley Washington, a certified public accountant.

Washington said flood victims may qualify for a "casualty tax loss" even though the flooding took place in this calendar year.

"That may generate a refund that you need right now," Washington said.

Victims must live in a federal disaster area, be without insurance and not be made whole by FEMA in order to qualify, according to Washington.

She suggests flood victims consult an accountant to see if they qualify for any tax benefit.

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