Florida is beautiful, but it is also very vulnerable. While we don’t have state income tax, it’s expensive for Florida businesses and individuals to recover from a natural disaster. Citigroup estimates the economic damage from Hurricane Irma is about $50 billion, which is much lower than pre-storm estimates. Although most Floridians made it through the storm with minimal damage, some saw their homes and businesses destroyed.
With so many damaged homes and businesses, construction workers will be in high demand. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the number of job openings in the construction industry outnumbers the amount of actual hires by about 250,000. With cities in Texas and all over Florida needing reconstruction, the demand for labor seems higher than the supply.
As storms are projected to get bigger and stronger due to climate change, we will need to build sturdier structures. This could mean more steel, wood, or concrete — and the price of those materials has skyrocketed. However, Consumerreports.org reports that some individuals can write off damage on their 2016 tax return for immediate financial relief. Additionally, keep a detailed record of the damage received so you can deduct the losses from next year’s tax return.
If you’re a small business owner, find out if disaster assistance from your local Small Business Administration is available. Some counties (at least in Florida) are offering Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help repair or replace equipment, inventory and other business assets.
It’s also important to watch out for fake charity scams. If you’re looking to help those impacted by Hurricanes Irma or Harvey, be sure you donate to a legitimate charitable organizations by verifying them on IRS.gov. Lastly, ransomware is an ever-growing problem to be alert for. If you receive an email saying its from the FBI or IRS, do not click on any links and delete the email.