Taxes due on damaged property

Published 1:01 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beaufort County property owners whose homes or buildings were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene are still required to pay taxes on those properties this year, even if their buildings were washed away by the storm, county leaders were told.

A state law, known as the Machinery Act, requires that taxes be paid on the value of the property as of Jan. 1 of the year in question, according to Bobby Parker, county tax administrator.

Any relief from taxes due on property damaged or destroyed by the hurricane would require action by the state Legislature, which, to date, has not considered the issue, he told the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

“Nothing has come down from Raleigh to allow any adjustment on this,” Parker said.

As a result, the value of any property damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irene cannot be adjusted until Jan. 1, 2012, and no adjustment can be made to the 2011 property taxes, Parker told the board.

Bills for those property taxes — based on the new values established by last year’s revaluation and the new tax rate of 53 cents per $100 valuation — were mailed last month.

“We have had a lot of people concerned about this,” Parker said.

Property owners affected by Hurricane Irene should contact the county tax assessor’s office at 220 N. Market St. or by telephone at 252-975-2247 and report damage inflicted to their properties, he said.

An appraiser will visit a property to determine its value for 2012 tax purposes, he said.