My home was damaged by a fire. What do I do? Where do I start?

If your property has been damaged by a calamity, you need to file a disaster relief claim with the county assessor. This will allow your current property taxes to be reduced for that portion of the property damaged or destroyed. This reduction will be from the first of the month in which the damage occurred, and will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt or repaired. Some county assessors have the authority to reduce a property's value for damage without a disaster relief claim. Please check with your county assessor's office to verify whether a claim is required.

In addition, if your property has been substantially damaged or destroyed in a Governor-proclaimed disaster and you have either filed a disaster relief claim with the county assessor to reduce your taxes or have been granted disaster relief by the assessor, you may file a claim to postpone the next installment of property taxes that occurs immediately after the disaster. If you file a "property tax deferral claim" with the county assessor before the next property tax installment payment date, that payment will be postponed without penalty or interest until the county assessor has reassessed the property and you receive a corrected tax bill.

To qualify for deferral, for property receiving a homeowners' exemption, "substantial disaster damage" means damage amounting to at least 10 percent of its fair market value or $10,000 whichever is less. For all other property, the damage must be at least 20 percent of value. However, tax deferral is not available where property taxes are paid through impound accounts.

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1. My home was damaged by a fire. What do I do? Where do I start?
2. How do I qualify for disaster relief?
3. Where can I get the application for reassessment of property damaged by misfortune or calamity?
4. Once I file my application, what is the process?
5. How does the Assessor's office determine the amount of property taxes to be refunded if my house was partially damaged?
6. After my property is rebuilt or repaired following the damage, will my property taxes increase over what they were before?
7. What if I disagree with the value as determined by the Assessor's Office?
8. Our home was damaged from a forest fire last year and we had to move out while it is being repaired. Are we still allowed the homeowner's exemption even though we have not returned to our house?