Assessing Landscape Tree Loss


Along with assessing structural damage to property caused by a storm or flood, property owners may need to calculate the loss of trees and other landscaping. The following factors help determine the value of the damaged trees and landscaping:

Decrease in fair market value is calculated in two ways: appraisals immediately before and after the casualty and deduction from the before- casualty fair market value of the costs of clean-up, repair, or replacement. Competent appraisals are the best proof of decrease in fair market value. Appraisal fees are deductible under expenses incurred to determine tax liability. Those fees are not part of the casualty loss.

Cleanup, repair, and replacement costs on the damaged landscape may be used to measure the decrease in property value if:

Homeowners who sustain significant damage to landscape trees may wish to contact the IRS to determine what other methods are currently being used to evaluate tree value. If homeowners decide to pursue claims or deductions, they must prove that casualty loss was sustained due to the storm or flood and that the amounts claimed as loss are deductible. Such record-keeping also is important in substantiating any claims for loss recovery. Specifically, homeowners must be prepared to show: