Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

By Jason R. Brown

If you are one of the many South Louisiana residents directly affected by recent flooding but did not have flood insurance protection for your home and/or assets, be aware that the law provides some limited relief in the form of sales tax refunds.   Under Louisiana law (La. R.S. 47:315.1), residents living in an area determined by the president of the United States to warrant federal assistance can seek a refund of state sales taxes paid on destroyed household items such as furniture, appliances, electronic equipment, etc.  Refunds are not limited to homeowners.  Apartment and other homestead renters are equally eligible.  Eligibility is limited, however, to the actual owner of the property who paid the state sales tax and no refunds are allowed on property for which the purchaser received reimbursement (whether through insurance or other means, including, potentially, assistance from FEMA).

The Louisiana Department of Revenue has issued standard forms for making natural disaster refund claims.  The forms – R-1362 (Claim for Refund); R-1362D (Schedule of Tangible Personal Property Destroyed by a Natural Disaster); and R-1362S (Calculation of States Sales Tax Refund) – must be submitted on or before December 31, 2019.  Form R-1362 must be notarized and form R-1362i should be referenced for instructions on how to complete the three required forms and what documentation must be attached to verify a claim.

Purchases of automobiles/trucks, boats/boat trailers, water/snow skis or similar recreational items generally used away from home are not eligible.  Nor are items that were installed or became component parts of the residence (i.e., lighting and bathroom fixtures, water heaters, hot tubs/spas and wall-to-wall carpeting).  Finally, be aware that eligibility is limited to taxes paid on the destroyed property’s original purchase, not its replacement.

As of today, the President of the United States has declared Acadia, Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermillion, Washington and West Feliciana Parishes federal disaster areas.  More are expected in the coming days.  Residents who live in one of these parishes, but did not have flood insurance should consider seeking natural disaster refunds on their destroyed household items purchases.