Webb seeks assistance for Chinese drywall victims from the IRS

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Senator Jim Webb is calling on the IRS to offer assistance to victims of Chinese drywall. The tainted building product has impacted more than 3,000 people in 37 states including Virginia.

Senator Webb wants the IRS to clarify how it will handle Chinese drywall victims that are looking for casualty loss deductions on their 2009 returns.

Ricky Edmonds experience with Chinese drywall has turned his life upside down.

"It's bad. It's toxic and it has ruined my home," said Edmonds.

Edmonds has been forced out his home and is now facing serious health concerns after drywall from China was used in his home in Oregon Hill.

The drywall emits a noxious fume that destroys appliances, corrodes metal, and basically destroys brand new homes. But despite the many examples of its impact - the IRS has yet to determine if the damage qualifies as a "casualty loss deduction". According to the agency casualty loss constitutes: "damage, destruction or loss of your property from any sudden, unexpected, or unusual event."

It allows homeowners who can show itemized records of their loss to deduct that from their taxes, however despite inquiries from lawmakers like Webb, it hasn't been determined if Chinese drywall losses qualify. Losses that for people like Ricky Edmonds, continue to mount.

"It destroys everything," he said. "It's destroyed TV's. It's destroyed computers."

Webb has attached an amendment to a Senate tax bill extender that will require the IRS to give an opinion. Even if it passes, its no guarantee that Chinese drywall victims will be able to seek relief. It will only help them to know if they are eligible one way or another.

Webb said that is just the beginning of his efforts to seek help for Chinese drywall victims. He said he has encouraged the president to raise the issue with Chinese president Hu Jintao during his visit to the country.

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