Tennessee Homeowners, Business Owners have Only Two Weeks to File Applications
NASHVILLE – Tennessee homeowners and business owners affected by historic floods this spring have only two weeks remaining to seek relief on their local property taxes.
Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law a bill unanimously approved by lawmakers in May that allows local taxing districts in the 46 counties that were declared federal disaster areas to reassess homes that were damaged in the storms.
Under the new law, Public Chapter 1036, any home that has been deemed unfit for use for more than 30 days or any home that sustained damages equal to more than 50 percent of the home’s pre-flood value would be eligible for an assessment reduction. The law is only applicable in communities where the local governing bodies chose by two-thirds vote to participate in the tax relief program. Applications must be filed with the local property assessor’s office by Sept. 1.
“Tennesseans deserve all the help we can provide to rebuild homes and businesses after these catastrophic floods washed so much away,’’ said Bredesen. “I hope family members, friends and neighbors will share the news that this deadline is fast approaching.”
Tennessee businesses, which are required to pay property taxes on tangible personal property, are also eligible for tax relief. Under the law, businesses can receive reduced assessments for their property if their business was destroyed, demolished, or substantially damaged and is not replaced or restored by Sept. 1.
Even if a property owner is not sure whether there was enough damage to qualify for a reassessment, the paperwork should be filed by the deadline, advises AARP Tennessee State Director Rebecca Kelly. That will allow an inspector from the local assessor’s office to visit the property and determine the amount of damage. A property owner who isn’t satisfied with the damage estimate can appeal to the State Board of Equalization.
“We want every Tennessean who was impacted by these floods to get whatever relief is available to help them restore their property, their community and their lives. That’s why we are so thankful that Governor Bredesen and the Tennessee General Assembly approved this legislation to give an extra boost to folks who need it,’’ said Kelly.
Tennesseans can locate the Assessor for their county online at: http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/PAnew/SelectCounty.asp
Since the floods, AARP has been advocating on behalf of older flood survivors, who were hit especially hard by the disaster. More than 40 percent of homeowners who received the maximum grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were 50 years of age or older.
In addition to the property tax flood relief, flood survivors also have a little more time to take advantage of a sales tax refund program offered by the Department of Revenue that also was approved by legislators and signed into law by Governor Bredesen.
Any household that qualified for FEMA aid can receive a sales tax refund – of up to $2,500 – for cleaning and building supplies, replacement furniture and appliances. The purchases must be made by Sept. 30 and the refund claim must be filed with the Tennessee Department of Revenue by Nov. 30. For more information about the sales tax relief, call toll-free 1-800-342-1003 or visit http://www.tn.gov/revenue/misc/floodrelief.htm.
Follow the recovery in Tennessee online at www.twitter.com/tema, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo, www.youtube.com/fema and www.flickr.com/photos/t_e_m_a.