Property taxes in Louisiana are generally based on the status and condition of taxable property on January 1 of each tax year. For Baton Rouge and surrounding areas devastated by the recent flooding that could mean paying property taxes on homes and business property based on the condition of property before the floods.
Fortunately, Louisiana law offers a solution. Historically, Louisiana law had special provisions for the reassessment of flooded property. See La. R.S. 47:1978. In 2005, the Louisiana Legislature expanded this reassessment provision and provided clearer procedures related to the reassessment of damaged or destroyed property. La. R.S. 47:1978.1.
La. R.S. 47:1978.1 requires assessors to modify the assessments of properties that have been damaged or destroyed or that are non-operational or uninhabitable due to an emergency declared by the governor. Gov. Edwards has declared the recent flooding as an emergency. See Proclamation No. 111JBE 2016. Under the law, assessors must recognize damage to land and other property, including buildings, structures, or personal property, such as equipment.
Since the assessment rolls have not yet been certified by the assessors, La. R.S. 47:1978.1 requires the assessors to modify their property tax assessments and delay the certification process, as necessary. The modified rolls will be subject to public inspection for a period of fifteen days once the rolls have been completed. Valuation appeals will have to be filed after shortly after the public inspection period.
It is important that taxpayers with damaged property contact the appropriate assessor’s office so that they can submit evidence of damage, such as pictures and insurance claims. This evidence will then be used by the assessor’s office to determine what adjustments need to be made to the assessment of the damaged property to properly account for the destruction, damage, or other impairment. The assessors in many of the impacted areas have not yet established procedures for requesting and implementing the valuation adjustments required by La. R.S. 47:1978.1. Kean Miller will be monitoring developments related to reassessments and is ready to help taxpayers get adjustments that properly account for all damage from the 2016 floods.