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Tennessee tax relief available for wildfire victims


 Gatlinburg fire damage.

The fires that raged through Sevier County, Tennessee from November 28 to December 9, 2016 claimed more than a dozen lives, destroyed close to 2,500 homes and businesses, and caused approximately $500 million in damages. At least 726 residents have already signed up for federal disaster assistance, which can include grants for home repairs and temporary housing, low-cost loans, and other programs.

Individuals receiving disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a result of the fires are also eligible for a refund for Tennessee sales tax paid on certain items, such as major appliances and furniture damaged or destroyed by the fires.

Eligible items:

  • Major appliances purchased for $3,200 or less
  • Residential furniture purchased for $3,200 or less
  • Residential building supplies purchased for $500 or less

The refund only applies to eligible items “purchased [after the fire] to replace damaged or destroyed items used in the individual’s primary residence.” Only one claim should be filed per residence, and the maximum refund allowed per residence is $2,500. Additional information is available from the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Tax deadline extensions are also available. Additional information about Sevier County recovery is available from the Office of the Governor.

Natural disasters such as wildfires often have enormous tax implications for businesses, as they destroy records. Tax automation software can’t eradicate the loss, but it can facilitate recovery. Learn more.

Photo credit.


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.