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Ivan hit could drop land taxes

Special to The Times

FAIRHOPE – Governor Bob Riley on Friday announced that property owners throughout the state whose property was damaged from Hurricane Ivan could get some relief on the amount of property tax they owe next year.

Riley made the announcement at a news conference with Alabama Revenue Commissioner Tom Surtees in Baldwin County, where Hurricane Ivan made landfall in September and caused significant property damage.

“Property owners who suffered damage can take comfort knowing that their property taxes can be reduced when next year’s tax bill is due. This is a matter of simple fairness,” Governor Riley said. “Those who suffered damage to their property need to contact their local tax assessing official to report the damage because it could reduce their property tax.”

If property damage is determined to affect property values, then a value adjustment will need to be made in order to calculate the amount of taxes due on the property on Oct. 1, 2005.

“We are encouraging property owners to report the extent of their damage. Any value adjustments made this year will not affect property taxes due in 2004, but will affect the amount of taxes due next year,” said Commissioner Surtees.

The Alabama Department of Revenue has dispatched personnel to help local officials perform property value assessments in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.

Alabama’s property tax laws provide that property taxes be applied each Oct. 1, with the taxes being collected the following Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.