Most Texans won’t forget the impact Winter Storm Uri had on Texas in February of 2021. The storm brought record cold temperatures, ice, snow, and devastation across the state. Estimates are that between $10 to $20 billion dollars of damage was caused by the storm according to a March 1, 2021 article by Insurance Journal. While a Bloomberg article estimated that “losses from the extended freeze and power outages in Texas could reach $90 billion, with around $20 billion of those losses covered by insurance”. This makes Uri the most costly natural disaster in Texas history, even topping Hurricane Harveys damages; however, help for those affected by the storm could come in the form of the Texas Tax Code.
According to a recent article by Thompson & Knight, “the Texas Tax Code allows property owners to qualify for a temporary exemption from property tax levied on qualified property significantly damaged in a state-declared disaster. Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster for all 254 counties in Texas on February 12, so many Texans may be eligible for a break on their property taxes for 2021 if they file the exemption form before May 28”.
Property Tax Exemption
Thompson & Knight’s alert also included that “property owners may receive a property tax exemption on damaged property if the property is at least 15% damaged and the property is one of the following:
- An improvement to real property (including a residence)
- Tangible business property that is used for income production, and for which the owner filed a
- A residential, commercial, industrial, multi-family building, or some kind of manufactured home
The appraisal district is charged with determining how much of the property was damaged by the disaster. If the district finds the property to be at least 15% damaged, the taxpayer will qualify for a percentage of a temporary property tax exemption. The amount of the exemption will depend on the extent of the damage”.