Miss. Coastal Property Owners Get Tax Break on Katrina Damage

December 27, 2005

Many property owners on the Mississippi coast will get a tax break in 2005.

Harrison and Jackson counties will offer a one-third reduction in assessed value on damaged or destroyed buildings, minus what is recovered from insurance. In Hancock County, property owners will get a one-third reduction on buildings without insurance factored in.

Hancock County Tax Collector and Assessor Jimmie Ladner said residents should not be penalized for having insurance.

“People over here have lost so much already,” Ladner said. “I think our board did the right thing and I stand behind them on that call. I think they did what was in the best interest of the people of Hancock County.”

In Jackson and Harrison counties, residents will need to petition for a reduction. In Hancock County, it will be automatic in severely damaged areas identified through aerial photography and GIS mapping. Those who lost homes outside areas with widespread damage can contact the county to receive the reduction.

Tax bills go out this time of year and taxes are due to be paid no later than Feb. 1.

County boards of supervisors have until Aug. 28, 2006, to approve property assessment reductions.

People should pay their taxes and if there is a reduction due them, the money will be refunded, said Harrison County Tax Assessor Tal Flurry.

In 2006, property tax assessments will be further reduced for homeowners whose buildings were destroyed.

Flurry said assessment teams will base values on property conditions as they exist Jan. 1. A person who lost his buildings would pay taxes based only on the land value. Insurance reimbursements will not be a factor in 2006.

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