New law allows current year reassessment, tax relief for flood-ravaged real property

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Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019 6:00 am

State senators have provided tax-relief measures for owners of property seriously damaged by this spring’s flooding.

The Legislature passed its annual cleanup bill last week, before ending the 2019 session.

Among provisions in the bill, is one that allows for county boards of equalization to adjust the value of real property destroyed by a natural disaster - such as a fire, flood or tornado to its post-disaster value.

LB512 was passed on final reading May 24, on a 45-0 vote of the state senators and was signed by Governor Pete Ricketts on May 30, according to the official website of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

Previous law required land and buildings to be valued, for property tax purposes, on Jan. 1 of each year. Passage of the bill puts a process in place to reduce property values when damaged by a natural disaster between Jan. 1 and July 1.

Damage must exceed 20% of current assessed value.

The bill allows a property owner to petition his or her county assessor for a reassessment of a property’s value for that year if the property is destroyed or damaged by a major calamity.

The county assessor is required to report to the county board of equalization all real property that is destroyed by fire or other natural disaster.

The county board will then adjust the value of the destroyed property, based in part on the portion of the year during which the property was intact. The board’s action will apply only to the current assessment year.

Knox County Assessor Monica McManigal said she and other county assessors are expecting a directive from the state property assessment division. The directive will provide more details on the law and instruction for the local officials.

“There are a lot of people in Knox County who need to apply for it,” she said. “It’s what we (county assessors) have been working for.”

Form 425 is available on the state department of revenue website, under the property assessment tab. The form must be filed with the county assessor prior to July 15.

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