PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS POSSIBLE FOR HOMEOWNERS IN DISASTER-DECLARED COUNTIES

  

Property owners in Washington County and other counties where a winter disaster declaration was issued may qualify for a temporary property tax exemption.

(Mark Whitehead)

In Governor-declared disaster areas, Texas tax code allows qualified properties that have suffered at least 15 percent damage to receive a temporary exemption of a portion of the property’s appraised value.

Qualified property includes homes, commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family buildings, certain manufactured homes used as dwellings, and tangible personal property used for income production for a business.

Appraisal districts determine if the property qualifies for the temporary exemption and assigns a damage assessment rating between levels of I through IV based upon available information.  The district can use information from a county emergency management authority, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other sources like insurance adjusters or repair estimates.

Level Damage Assessment Damage Description Exemption Percentage
I 15% < 30% Minimal, may continue to be used as intended 15%
II 30% < 60% Nonstructural damage and waterline <18" above floor if flooded. 30%
III 60% < 100% Significant structural damage and waterline 18"+ above floor if flooded 60%
IV 100% Total loss; repair is not feasible 100%

The amount of the exemption is determined by multiplying the value of a building or personal property by the exemption percentage based on the damage assessment level.  That number is then multiplied by a proration factor, in this case being the number of days remaining in the tax year after the date the governor declares the disaster divided by 365.

For example, a $100,000 home received $20,000 in damage from burst pipes that resulted in nonstructural damage, being a first-level damage assessment.  Level 1 damage assessments offer a 15 percent exemption for damage between 15 and 30 percent, so the $100,000 home value multiplied by the 15 percent exemption equals $15,000.  That amount multiplied by the proration factor—in this scenario, 322/365 equals 0.88—would total a $13,200 exemption amount reducing 2021 taxable value.

The deadline for application is 105 days after the governor declares a disaster area.  Since the governor issued the disaster declaration February 12th, the deadline to file an application is May 28th.

The appraisal district must send written notice of the approval, modification or denial of the application to the applicant.  The temporary disaster area exemption expires on January 1st of the first tax year in which the property is reappraised.

Property owners can access the disaster application form at www.washingtoncad.org.  Applications can be mailed to the Washington County Appraisal District at P.O. Box 681, Brenham, Texas 77834, or emailed to chief appraiser Dyann White at dwhite2@brenhamk-12.net.

Anyone with questions can email White or call 979-277-3740.

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