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Much of eastern and central Nebraska suffered devastating flooding in March 2019. Much agricultural land, as well as agricultural, residential, industrial and commercial property has been damaged or destroyed. A 2019 bill just enacted— Legislative Bill 512—allows property owners suffering significant flood damage to have the 2019 property taxes on flood damaged property lowered.
Under prior Nebraska law, land and buildings were valued for property tax purposes on January 1 of each year. There were no statutory provisions for changing that property valuation after January 1 due to property damage, although some county assessors have done so in the past. This was changed by LB512.
LB512 establishes a process for reducing land and building values damaged by natural disaster, including flooding. Under LB512, disaster damaged property values can be reduced if the damage occurs before July 1 of the year in which the reduced value is claimed. The property will be valued in its damaged state for the entire year. The damage must reduce property value by at least 20% in order to qualify for reduced valuation, and the damage could be from fire, earthquake, flood, tornado or similar natural events. The damage must not have been caused by the property owner.