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Tax reduction is intended to help owners rebuild property to pre-event levels

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Heavy rains resulted in flooding throughout Columbia County on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Columbia County is offering tax relief to qualifying property owners whose land was damaged due to flooding.

The Columbia County Assessor is reminding residents who have sustained damage to their real or personal property from the Feb. 12 flood that they may be eligible for a proration of taxes, a press release from Columbia County noted Thursday, Feb. 21.

Property owners who qualify may only be responsible for a portion of their annual property taxes, the release states.

A reduction is considered when the real market value falls below the assessed value after an event such as a flood or fire.

In Oregon, the tax year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the subsequent year. Taxes on property that experienced a casualty loss because of an "act of God," or an occurrence of nature without human interference, during the tax year may be eligible for reduction, according to the release.

The reduction is based on the number of months the property is damaged and is calculated by the county tax collector after an inspection of the damaged area.

 "With the flooding that took place on February 12, property owners who qualify could receive a pro-ration from February through June," stated Sue Martin, the Columbia County assessor.

The tax reduction is intended to help owners rebuild property to pre-event levels. Martin noted that after the catastrophic 2007 flood in Vernonia, nearly 1,000 applications were submitted. While the extent of the February flood was not as great, Martin wants owners to know that proration is an option.

 Applications must be submitted no later than the end of the tax year in which the damage or destruction occurs, or 60 days after the date the property was damaged or destroyed, whichever is later.

 For further information, contact the Columbia County Assessor's Office at 503-397-2240. Additional information about the application can be found on the Columbia County website at www.co.columbia.or.us, the press release indicates.

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