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Media Advisory: Mayor John Cooper And Metro Assessor Vivian Wilhoite Advise Of Sale Tax And Property Tax Relief Available to Those Impacted by Tornado

3/9/2020
Chris Song

Mayor John Cooper and Metro Assessor Vivian Wilhoite jointly announced today the availability of sales tax relief and property tax relief under existing State law for Davidson County residents impacted by the March 3, 2020 tornado. 

“It is important as Nashvillians emerge from devastating losses that we communicate any available mechanisms that can afford financial relief, such as sales tax refunds,” said Mayor Cooper. “Under existing State law, those most in need can access relief in the form of property appraisal procedures where appropriate as a result of such losses,” added Assessor Wilhoite.

According to the Metropolitan Department of Law, the primary vehicles for tax relief to disaster victims under current State law include the following:

Property Valuation at Post-Damage Values

For tornado victims who suffered “substantial damage” to buildings and improvements, including residential, commercial and industrial buildings, State law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-603) provides that the Assessor’s Office will assess the value of such property based upon its condition after the tornado, provided the property is not restored or replaced by September 1, 2020.

“Substantial damage” would refer to buildings and improvements that have been rendered unfit for use or occupancy, or whose damages reduce the value of the improvement by fifty percent (50%).

The post-damage valuation is made on a pro rata basis, with the structure’s normal “pre-tornado” value applying from January 1 through March 3, 2020.

Once complete, the Trustee would collect property taxes based upon the assessment as prorated by the Assessor. Such value prorations would not affect the due date for property taxes under current law.

Property Valuation for Commercial and Industrial Personal Property

For commercial and industrial tangible personal property destroyed or substantially damaged by the tornado that is not restored or replaced before September 1, 2020, State law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-606) likewise provides that the Assessor will similarly prorate the assessment of the personal property for the portion of the year prior to the date of destruction or substantial damage (i.e., March 3, 2020). The Trustee would collect taxes on the property based upon the Assessor’s prorated assessment. As with real property, the proration would not affect the due date for personal property taxes.

Sales Tax Refund for Purchases Related to Tornado Damage

Under additional State law, (Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-6-396), individuals who receive FEMA disaster assistance for repair, replacement, or construction of the their primary residence are entitled to a refund of state and local sales tax paid for the purchase of major appliances, residential furniture, or residential building supplies up to $2,500.00.

Claims must be filed within one year of the claimant’s FEMA decision letter for disaster assistance, and only one (1) natural disaster refund may be submitted per claimant.

Claims must include a certification that the purchases were to replace, repair, or restore property damaged in the 2020 Tornado and include satisfactory proof of receipt of federal disaster assistance (e.g., the FEMA decision letter).

Questions and requests for additional details regarding property tax assessments may be directed to 

Davidson County Assessor of Property
Howard Office Building
700 Second Avenue South
Suite 210
PO Box 196305
Nashville, TN 37219
615-862-6080

Questions regarding sales tax refunds may be directed to:

Tennessee Department of Revenue
500 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37242
615-253-0600