Published Mon, Jul 16, 2012 5:47 pm Dateline
Few Athens County property owners are taking advantage of a tax break for damaged property after storms ripped through southeast Ohio at the end of June. The Athens County Auditor’s Office offers a year-round program that provides a tax reduction for destroyed property, but only four notices have been filed with the county since the storms hit.
"Obviously if those folks have damage, they need that relief," says Athens County Auditor Jill Thompson. "That should be the priority."
Anyone with damaged property is eligible to apply for the tax break. Property owners with damages caused before June 30 are eligible for up to a 75 percent reduction, and applications are due by the end of the year. Up to a 50 percent reduction may be available for damages caused between July and September, and those applications are due by January 30.
"We encourage those folks that have had these sorts of incidents or have had damage to their property that may affect their value, that we definitely be notified to give us an opportunity to provide them some relief," says Thompson.
For her, it is imperative to inform property owners in the county that relief is available. When the tornado struck in 2010, the auditor’s office sent crews door to door in damaged areas to inform property owners about possible tax breaks. However, with summer storms striking a much broader area, she says it has become impossible for the office to do so.
"We’re hoping to reach out to area residents that have had damage, make them aware of the program and hope that they will come to us and seek that relief."
Even property owners who have already repaired damages are eligible for a tax reduction. Applications for the tax reduction can be found online at athenscountyauditor.org.