Tax Credits To Help Homeowners Survive Alabama Storms
January 18, 2022
You know the joke: Alabama has only two seasons – tornado and hurricane. But it’s not funny when your family and property are in imminent danger from either. As with most jokes, there’s a kernel of truth. Alabama really does have two severe weather seasons. Tornado season is November 1-May 31 and hurricane season commences June 1 and extends to October 31. Last year, the National Weather Service reported 61 tornados occurring in Alabama. Alabama tornado fatalities were the nation's highest between 1984 and 2017, according to the study published in the American Meteorological Society journal.
Increasingly, Alabama homeowners are protecting their families with storm shelters as part of new construction or adding shelters to existing homes. Now, there is a state tax credit - up to $3,000 - available to qualified homeowners who purchase approved storm shelters. According to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the tax credit will equal up to $3,000 or 50 percent (whichever is less) of the total cost of the construction, acquisition, and installation of a qualified storm shelter at a primary residence. The available state tax credit for the program is capped at $2 million per year and will end with the 2025 tax year.
Rep. Joe Lovvorn, of Auburn, sponsored the bill that created the program in honor of victims of the 2019 tornado that killed about two dozen people in Lee County.
To qualify, your storm shelter must be Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved, able to withstand an F-5 tornado, and built at your primary residence in Alabama.
FEMA says having a storm shelter - sometimes called a safe room - in your home can help provide near-absolute protection for you and your family from injury or death caused by the dangerous forces of extreme winds. The Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency offers these tips to determine which storm shelter company is right for you:
- Ask for references and be sure to do your research.
- Make sure the company can install a structure that will comply with FEMA guidelines and ICC standards.
- Have contact information for the builder/installer.
- Specify what type of safe room is to be built/installed.
- Know the time frame it will be built/installed.
- Know the final cost.
Alabama EMA will help you verify that your storm shelter meets the most recent FEMA requirements (FEMA P-320, March 2021). Before buying, you can send your complete set of engineered drawings to email@example.com. After installing an individual storm shelter or safe room, it is a good idea to have it registered with your local EMA so that first responders know the shelter location and can check for occupants after a disaster when shelters may be covered with debris and not visible.
For more information on the tax credit, visit the Alabama Department of Revenue frequently asked questions page.