U.S. Representative

Dennis A. Ross

Proudly Serving Florida's 15th Congressional District

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Ross Reintroduces Disaster Savings Account Act

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Washington, June 9, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2017 – U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, this week reintroduced the Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act, which will allow individuals to annually set aside money in tax-preferred accounts to use for natural disaster mitigation expenses.

“One common thread joins us all across the nation, and that is the unexpected risk posed to our families and communities by natural disasters, like we experienced last year with Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew,” said Ross. “My colleagues and I have a duty to the American people to find proactive disaster solutions that work for Floridians and all Americans across the U.S. This is why I am happy to reintroduce my Disaster Savings Accounts (DSA) Act for the 115th Congress. This legislation provides critical relief to Americans in disaster-prone states, allowing them to proactively save pre-tax dollars for use toward disaster preparation and recovery expenses.

"With hurricane season beginning this month, the DSA Act will provide Floridians the ability to use saved funds for disaster mitigation to purchase items that increase the safety of their homes, such as cement-fortified walls, storm shutters and generators. This type of savings will help reduce federal costs to taxpayers because every dollar spent on mitigation can save up to four dollars in future disaster recovery spending. The DSA Act is a common-sense solution that will help keep families and their properties safe, as well as give Americans more control over their money.”

The DSA Act will establish a new tax-preferred savings account for the purpose of fortifying residential property (i.e., houses, condos or apartments) in preparation for an impending natural disaster and, in the aftermath, for rebuilding and damage expenses. Homeowners will be allowed to contribute up to $5,000 annually in pre-tax dollars to be used for DSA-qualified expenses, and any balance would roll over at the end of each year.

In addition to the traditional expenses associated with disaster mitigation and repair of a residence, DSA Act accounts will allow homeowners to utilize DSA Act funds for uninsured personal casualty losses for their homes. This process will help mitigate, and even avoid altogether, insurance premium increases in instances where available DSA Act funds for smaller-value damages would allow homeowners to avoid tapping into insurance coverages for damage repairs.

Background:

~ The DSA Act creates a new section (Section 224) within the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 detailing Disaster Savings Accounts and the permitted use of tax-deferred dollars.

~ SEC. 224 (New section of Internal Revenue Code):

  • Permits eligible individuals to set aside up to $5,000 annually in a tax-deferred account to use for disaster mitigation expenses.
  • Allows the DSA to be established under the management of a “Trustee”, which can be a bank, insurance company, or other entity that can demonstrate proper management and distribution of funds as detailed by this act.
  • An eligible individual is one who owns property, upon which a structure sits that is also insured by a policy traditionally required by the mortgage-holding lender.
  • Examples of hazards include earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricanes, lightening, power outages, sinkholes, tornadoes, wildfires and any other natural disaster.
  • Remaining DSA funds may roll over into the following year.
  • Includes a 20 percent penalty tax on funds withdrawn from a DSA and used for purposes other than disaster mitigation expenses.
  • Allows for a cost-of-living adjustment in accordance with section 1(f)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

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