Property Damage Suffered as a Result of Hurricane Ida Must be Considered by Assessors into Determining the Fair Market Value
In response to the pandemic, the Jones Walker SALT team published an article regarding La. R.S. 47:1978.1 and its mandate that property damaged, destroyed, or rendered nonoperational due to an emergency declared by the governor was subject to reassessment, including the consideration of additional obsolescence, as a result of that physical and financial damage.
In response to Hurricane Ida, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide state of emergency order on August 26, 2021. As such, any property, including buildings, structures, or personal property that was damaged, destroyed, or rendered nonoperational by Ida “shall” be subject to reassessment by the assessor. In fact, the Louisiana Tax Commission (Commission) recently issued Statewide Advisory No. 03-2021 encouraging any taxpayer whose property was destroyed, damaged, or rendered nonoperational due to Ida to document all damages and submit appropriate documentation, including photographs, to their assessor.
Based on the foregoing, if any real or personal property has been damaged or rendered nonoperational because of Ida, it is recommended that for damaged properties photos be taken, and the cost of repairs be documented. For property rendered nonoperational as a result of the storm, it is prudent to document how the downtime has impacted your business.
In its statewide advisory, the Commission advises assessors in parishes affected by Ida, and where the assessment rolls have not been certified by the assessor to the local Board of Review, to advertise new exposure dates and new dates for the Board of Review to consider any appeals. If you believe that your assessment is now incorrect as a result of Ida, best practice would be to contact your assessor to provide any data to establish a necessary reduction in value based on the damage, or because business property is nonoperational, and to inquire as to whether the assessor will voluntarily change the assessment or reopen the rolls for inspection, and subsequent appeal. As noted in the article, Section 1978.1 provides certain appeal rights if the assessor refuses to properly consider data regarding the reduced value of damaged or nonoperational property.