Property taxes in Louisiana are based on the fair market value of taxable property. The assessors make the fair market value determination based upon the status and condition of property as of January 1 of each tax year. Certain types of immovable property are generally revalued every four years; however if market conditions suggest changes in fair market value, adjustments can be made during the four year cycle. Most equipment and personal property is valued annually. La. R.S. 47:1978 and La. R.S. 47:1978.1 provide relief provisions for property owners that sustain damage after January 1 due to flooding or a natural disaster.
La. R.S. 47:1978.1, which was enacted after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, provides that if buildings, structures or personal property are damaged, destroyed, non-operational or uninhabitable due to an emergency declared by the Governor then the assessment of such property should take into account all damage to the property even if the assessment rolls are complete. Different procedures apply depending upon the point in the assessment cycle that the natural disaster occurs. Business property and homes that were damaged in Gustav are due a reduction in assessment even though the January 1, 2008 assessment date has already passed. Gustav hit during a critical time in the assessment cycle; therefore, the implementation of La. R. S. 47:1978 and 47:1978.1 will vary by parish. Owners of Gustav damaged property should contact the parish assessor to determine how the revaluations provisions will be implemented. Kean Miller can help with disputes related to the assessment of damaged property.