Faulkner County residents eligible for special tax relief after tornado

LITTLE ROCK — Faulkner County residents and businesses affected by Sunday’s tornado are eligible for special tax relief, the state Department of Finance and Administration said Thursday.

DF&A said taxpayers in the county with issues affecting their ability to file or pay sales tax, withholding tax, corporate income tax or other state taxes can contact the agency to obtain an extension of the deadline.

Also, interest and penalties that otherwise would accrue for failure to pay taxes will be abated for Faulkner County taxpayers if the failure to pay results from issues related to the severe weather.

DF&A said it is limited to offering the relief to Faulkner County because it is the only county in the state that has been declared a federal disaster area.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mark Martin said businesses in Faulkner, Pulaski and White counties would have an extra 30 days to file franchise taxes because of the storm damage there. For all other businesses, the deadline was Thursday.

The Vilonia State Revenue Office will be open daily to assist people in obtaining driver’s licenses, identification cards, motor vehicle titles and vehicle registration slips to replace items lost in the storm, DF&A said.

U.S. Rep. Rim Griffin, R-Little Rock, said Thursday his staff is holding mobile office hours in the tornado-damaged towns of Mayflower and Vilonia through May 9 to help provide residents with information about resources available to assist them. People can also make appointments by contacting Griffin’s offices in Little Rock or Conway, he said.

Fifteen people were killed in Faulkner, Pulaski and White counties in Sunday’s tornado, which the Nation Weather Service has classified as an EF4. An EF4 tornado is one with winds from 166-200 mph.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will travel to Mayflower and Vilonia on Sunday to view the destruction, his office announced Thursday. Johnson is expected to be joined by Gov. Mike Beebe, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, and local officials.