Property owners who have damage to their property as a result of Hurricane Katrina may be able to reduce their 2005 property taxes that are due to be paid prior to February 1, 2006. A Mississippi law, 27-35-143(9) of the Mississippi Code, provides, in part, that the county Board of Supervisors may change, cancel or reduce an assessment when a storm has caused the property to cease to exist or when the property has depreciated in value as a result of the storm. The law also provides for the Board of Supervisors to take into consideration any insurance proceeds that will be received by the property owner as a result of damage to the property.
Persons seeking relief under this law should file an application with the Tax Assessor of his/her county as soon as insurance information is available. The law requires the application to be approved before August 28, 2006. Accompanying the application should be an affidavit indicating the amount of the loss that will be reimbursed by insurance proceeds. Such insurance proceeds are only those received to compensate for the damage to the real property (land and buildings), not monies received for damage to, or losses on personal property (furniture or other items not permanently attached to land or buildings).
Business owners who have suffered losses would be allowed relief as well as home owners. However, because businesses pay taxes on some personal property, the insurance proceeds from losses to personal property should be taken into account by the Board when making any adjustment to an assessment.
Mobile homes that remain personal property and were destroyed by Katrina are treated differently under the law. If your manufactured home or mobile home was totally destroyed, you may be credited for property taxes for the proportional part of the year remaining. To obtain the credit the owner must submit proof supported by three affidavits sworn to by a notary with legal authority from reputable citizens that the manufactured or mobile home was totally destroyed, and by an estimate of the salvage value remaining. No person claiming the credit will be entitled to a cash refund.