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Sales Tax Relief Is Available for Sevier County Residents

A Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued for Sevier County on December 15, 2016.  Through this declaration, Sevier County will receive individual federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

This declaration also means Tennessee sales tax relief is available for affected residents on purchases of certain items for their primary residence. Read more information this tax relief below, as well as in this important notice and this press release.

Who qualifies for sales tax refunds?

Individuals who receive disaster assistance from FEMA as a result of the Sevier County fires can receive a refund for Tennessee sales tax paid on certain items for their primary residence.  Any person filing a claim for refund must include documentation verifying the assistance they received from FEMA.

When should claims be filed?

A claim can be filed up to one year from the date on the FEMA decision letter.  However, only one claim can be filed per residence. A claimant should wait until he or she has made all purchases before filing a claim for refund. Receipts and invoices should be compiled and tracked so that all eligible items purchased after the date of the disaster from all retailers can be claimed at one time.  The maximum amount of Tennessee sales tax that can be refunded is $2,500. 

What items qualify for the sales tax refund?

The Tennessee sales tax paid on eligible items can be refunded.  Eligible items are major appliances purchased for $3,200 or less, residential furniture purchased for $3,200 or less, and residential building supplies purchased for $500 or less.

To be eligible, major appliances and residential furniture must be purchased to replace damaged or destroyed items used in the individual’s primary residence. Residential building supplies must be used for the purposes of restoration, repair, replacement, or rebuilding the individual’s primary residence. You can view a detailed list of eligible and ineligible items here

Is there a limit on the amount of sales tax that can be refunded?

The maximum amount of refund available to any one residence is $2,500.

Can you include sales tax paid by a contractor in the claim?

People filing a claim for refund may also include the Tennessee sales or use tax paid on eligible items their contractor purchased and used when making repairs to their home.  Affected individuals should ask their contractor to provide them with an invoice listing the items purchased and the amount of Tennessee sales tax the contractor paid on those purchases.

What are the steps for claiming a refund of sales tax?

A person receiving FEMA assistance can only file one claim per residence.  The claim should include all Tennessee sales and use tax paid, up to $2,500, to all retailers for any eligible items.  The claim for refund also must be filed within one year from the date on the FEMA decision letter and should only include eligible items purchased after the date of the disaster.  To file claim for refund, follow these steps:

  1. Gather a copy of your FEMA decision letter and all of your receipts and invoices showing payment of Tennessee sales tax on eligible items.  Include contractor invoices, if applicable, and any other payment documents if store receipts are not available.
  2. File your claim for refund online using the Department’s new tax filing website, called Tennessee Taxpayer Access Point (TNTAP).  Submitting your claim using our new website will allow for faster processing.  
  3. However, if you do not want to use the Department’s website, you can also mail the completed Natural Disaster Claim for Refund and a copy of your FEMA decision letter stating that you received disaster assistance (you should retain your original letter) to:
    ATTN: Natural Disaster Refund Claim
    Tennessee Department of Revenue
    Andrew Jackson State Office Building
    Nashville, TN 37242
  4. Keep all receipts and invoices for a period of three years from December 31 of the year in which the claim for refund was filed.  Do not send receipts and invoices with the claim for refund.  If needed, the Department will request the receipts and invoices.

If I own, but do not live in, a house damaged in the Sevier County fires, can I get a tax refund for items purchased to repair the house or replace damaged items in the house?

No.  Tennessee law only allows a refund for Tennessee sales tax paid on items purchased to repair your primary residence or to replace damaged items in your primary residence.  Your primary residence is the main place where you live.