New “Shelter Act” helps protect homes from disaster
U.S. Representatives from Florida Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Charlie Crist (D-FL), along with U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), recently introduced the Shelter Act, which would create a first-of-its-kind disaster mitigation tax credit to help families and business owners protect homes or businesses against hurricanes, tornados, floods, drought and wildfires.
Despite hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent on disaster recovery each year, there are currently no federal tax incentives to encourage mitigation. The Shelter Act allows a tax write off of 25 percent of qualifying mitigation expenses, from strengthening the durability of a roof or installing a storm shelter built to ICC 500/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters — developed by the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Storm Shelter Association to provide minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters — to elevating a housing unit to reduce potential flood damage. The tax credit has an annual limit of up to $5,000 per taxpayer. Eligible properties include homes or businesses in or adjacent to an area that the federal government has declared a disaster within the past 10 years. Taxpayers who rent a property in eligible areas can also receive the credit.