Property tax relief available for residents of homes damaged in 2012 Wichita tornado

09/18/2013 12:45 PM

09/19/2013 7:55 AM

Property tax relief is available for residents of Oaklawn and other areas whose homes were destroyed or “substantially destroyed” last year by a tornado.

The Kansas Legislature approved a new provision earlier this year that gives owners relief from taxes on homes completely or mostly destroyed by a disaster. On Wednesday, Sedgwick County commissioners adopted a resolution to allow for such assistance, which applies to homes destroyed or substantially damaged in taxable years from Dec. 31, 2011, to Jan. 1, 2014.

Property owners affected by the April 14, 2012, tornado that struck parts of south Wichita and Oaklawn have until Dec. 20 to apply for help with last year’s property taxes.

County officials estimate that owners of 60 mobile homes and 10 site-built houses may qualify for help.

To get help, the person must have owned the property at the time of the disaster and still own it. The property must have sustained damage that exceeds 50 percent of the pre-disaster value of the home, and the owner can’t have received insurance money for more than 50 percent of the pre-disaster value of the home.

Applications are due by Dec. 20 the year after the year for which taxes were assessed.

Property owners won’t get their money back if they paid the taxes on their homes, said Brent Shelton, tax system director for the county. But they can get a credit going forward for up to three years. And if they haven’t paid yet, they can apply to receive a tax abatement.

“We need to take a stack of these down to Oaklawn,” Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Skelton told colleagues.

Shelton said the county’s share of the taxes for homes destroyed in the tornado is about $4,000.

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