Jimmy Rodefer: Sales tax refunds still available for wildfire homeowners

Sales tax refunds of up to $3,500 on “certain items” are available to Sevier County property owners whose primary or secondary residence was damaged or destroyed in the wildfires that swept through Gatlinburg and surrounding areas for 11 days near the end of 2016.

Guidance on how to apply for the refunds and what they include has been issued by the Tennessee Dept. of Revenue. The new tax break components stem from a law passed in the Tennessee General Assembly’s 2017 session that expanded the refund from $2,500 to $3,500 and extended to taxpayers the opportunity to claim certain items on second homes as well as primary residences. Taxpayers’ whose primary or secondary homes were destroyed or damaged between Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, 2016, are eligible to receive the sales tax refunds. The revenue department says that claims can be made for the purchase of such items as major appliances, furniture and building supplies used to “restore, repair, or rebuild” a primary or secondary residence.

Here are some of the details:

  • The person filing the refund claim must include documentation for help received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Taxpayers filing a refund claim for a secondary residence must certify the fire (within the dates listed above) caused the damage or destruction to their home; certification can be in the form of a fire department report, insurance adjuster’s report, or other documentation that can verify the Sevier County wildfire caused the property loss.
  • Multiple claims on a residence are not permitted; a taxpayer may make a single claim for a primary residence and a single claim for a secondary residence.
  • A primary residence claim can be filed up to a year from e date that appears on the FEMA decision letter, not the date received by the taxpayer.
  • A claim for a secondary residence may be filed up to April 1, 2018.
  • Sales and use tax a contractor paid for eligible items and charged to the homeowner are also eligible for the refund.
  • Invoices and receipts are needed for proof of expenses paid for fire-damaged primary or secondary homes, and should be kept for at least three years.

There are also items ineligible for the refund. Among these are computers, HVAC heating and air units; storage units; and a list of others. A more complete list of eligible and ineligible items, with links to additional refund information, is available here

To file a claim, taxpayers must complete this claim - Sevier County Wildfire Natural Disaster Claim for Refund of Sales Tax.

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You can view the original article from the Knoxville News Sentinel here.

Tagged #JimmyTalk, Tax Breaks, Sevier County Wildfire, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA