Bell bill will help local storm victims with sales tax rebates for replacement items damaged due to March storms

(NASHVILLE, TN), April 23, 2012 – Legislation which would help storm victims in Bradley, Polk McMinn, Monroe, and Hamilton who received damage due to the March storms is headed to the floor of the Senate for final consideration.  Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) led passage of Senate Bill 2701 through the Finance Committee last week.  A final vote on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday in the Senate.  The relief legislation would allow citizens to be eligible for sales tax rebates for certain replacement items damaged due to storms.

The measure allows for citizens affected by the storms to apply for tax rebates on household appliances and furnishings up to $3,200 per item and on building materials up to $500 per item. The rebates are capped at $2,500 per household.

“Many citizens who received damage from this storm had not even recovered from last year’s disasters,” said Senator Bell.  “The sales tax rebate is similar to those enacted over the past two years for victims of flooding and tornadoes.  Much of the damage done this year was to areas inside the Senate district I represent and adjoining counties.”

Those who suffered damages between March 23, 2011, and May 12, 2012 who qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance would be eligible for the tax rebates under the proposal.  The brunt of damage was done between February 29 and March 2, 2012 during a major tornado outbreak across the Southeast.  In addition to the four Southeast Tennessee counties, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Jackson and Overton Counties were also declared disaster areas for FEMA assistance by President Obama. Under the program, storm-qualified claimants submit copies of their receipts and receive rebates of both state and local sales taxes paid due to any damages.

Appliances covered under the rebate program include replacement water heaters, dishwashers, washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, ranges, ovens, cooktops, microwaves, vacuums, or fans.  The residential building materials covered under the program include cleaning and disinfecting materials, trash bags, boxes, construction tools, hardware, roofing shingles, roofing paper, gutters, downspouts, vents, doors, windows, sheetrock, drywall, insulation, paint and paint materials if used for restoration, repair, replacement or rebuilding due to the disaster.

“This legislation has a very good chance for final passage after approval by the Finance Committee,” added Bell.

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