In response to the deadly tornados that swept through the Tennessee area last week, State Senator Brenda Gilmore and Representative Harold Love held a press conference to draw the focus on North Nashville recovery efforts.
“We don’t want to lose the opportunity focus on North Nashville, one of the city’s historic aa neighborhoods, a neighborhood and community that has been overlooked far too many times,” said Gilmore who urges equitable relief.
“Please don’t leave north Nashville out when the money is being disbursed. Natural disasters do not discriminate,” she said.
Gilmore also thanked the community for coming together, as well as the over 500 volunteers who are helping to rebuild the community.
She also urged homeowners not to sell their homes or property if possible, and if so, to be sure to get good advise from a trusted advisor.
In response, The Equity Alliance organized cleanup, canvassing, and homeowner meetings to assist North Nashville residents in reclaiming their neighborhoods and protecting their property.
“It is important that residents in North Nashville understand their options before making decisions about their damaged homes and properties,“ The Equity Alliance Co-Founder and Executive Director Charlane Oliver said. “We have already witnessed first-hand elderly residents and others getting quick offers on the street by individuals looking to make a profit from their misfortune. We are asking for the professionals in relevant fields to offer their time pro-bono to these citizens to help them make the best decisions about their property.”
Additionally, Mayor John Cooper and Metro Assessor Vivian Wilhoite have announced the availability of sales tax relief and property tax relief under existing State law for Davidson County residents impacted by the March 3, 2020 tornado.
“It is important as Nashvillians emerge from devastating losses that we communicate any available mechanisms that can afford financial relief, such as sales tax refunds,” said Mayor Cooper. “Under existing State law, those most in need can access relief in the form of property appraisal procedures where appropriate as a result of such losses,” added Assessor Wilhoite.
According to the Metropolitan Department of Law, the primary vehicles for tax relief to disaster victims under current State law include the following:
Property valuation at post-damage values
For tornado victims who suffered “substantial damage” to buildings and improvements, including residential, commercial and industrial buildings, State law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-603) provides that the Assessor’s Office will assess the value of such property based upon its condition after the tornado, provided the property is not restored or replaced by September 1, 2020.
“Substantial damage” would refer to buildings and improvements that have been rendered unfit for use or occupancy, or whose damages reduce the value of the improvement by fifty percent (50%).
The post-damage valuation is made on a pro rata basis, with the structure’s normal “pre-tornado” value applying from January 1 through March 3, 2020.
Once complete, the Trustee would collect property taxes based upon the assessment as prorated by the Assessor. Such value prorations would not affect the due date for property taxes under current law.
Property valuation for commercial and industrial personal property
For commercial and industrial tangible personal property destroyed or substantially damaged by the tornado that is not restored or replaced before September 1, 2020, State law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-606) likewise provides that the Assessor will similarly prorate the assessment of the personal property for the portion of the year prior to the date of destruction or substantial damage (i.e., March 3, 2020). The Trustee would collect taxes on the property based upon the Assessor’s prorated assessment. As with real property, the proration would not affect the due date for personal property taxes.
Sales tax refund for purchases related to tornado damage
Under additional State law, (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-6-396), individuals who receive FEMA disaster assistance for repair, replacement, or construction of the their primary residence are entitled to a refund of state and local sales tax paid for the purchase of major appliances, residential furniture, or residential building supplies up to $2,500.00.
Claims must be filed within one year of the claimant’s FEMA decision letter for disaster assistance, and only one (1) natural disaster refund may be submitted per claimant.
Claims must include a certification that the purchases were to replace, repair, or restore property damaged in the 2020 Tornado and include satisfactory proof of receipt of federal disaster assistance (e.g., the FEMA decision letter).
Questions and requests for additional details regarding property tax assessments may be directed to the Davidson County Assessor of Property at 615-862-6080.
Questions regarding sales tax refunds may be directed to the Tennessee Department of Revenue (615) 253-0600.
Tornado victims: Get needed property documents from Register of Deeds at no charge
Paperwork that could help in applying for insurance benefits
Victims of this week’s deadly tornado can get property documents — which they may need for insurance and mortgage purposes — from the Davidson County Register of Deeds office. Copies of deeds and other documents are available at no charge to those affected by the storm.
“Some of those hit by the storm may have lost important paperwork on their property,” said Davidson County Register of Deeds Karen Johnson. “As they file claims for damages, they’ll need their documents.
“Our office is more than happy to provide free copies of their deeds and any other needed property documents that we have on file.”
The Register of Deeds office is located inside Bridgestone Arena at 501 Broadway. Free parking is provided for the office’s customers on Broadway between 6th and 7th Avenues in front of First Baptist Church. For information, call 615-862-6790