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Gov. shutdown could impact tax refunds for Highland Lakes flood victims

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Friday marks the 13th day of the partial government shutdown. The shutdown has impacted everything from national parks to federal employee pay. It could also impact tax refunds for victims of the historic flooding on the Highland Lakes in October.

Governor Abbott issued a state disaster declaration after flood water destroyed countless homes and communities on October 16th.

However, two and a half months later, there is still no disaster declaration on a federal level.

"With limited area in the state it impacted -- a couple weeks [after the flood], you start to think is this going to happen or not," says Herb Darling, director of development services for Burnet County.

According to Darling, a federal disaster declaration is signed if the state meets the threshold for dollars worth of damage. Individual counties are responsible for submitting monetary damage reports.

Darling says Burnet County was one of the first to finish assessments, but other counties were slow to send in the numbers, which caused initial set-backs.

He says it's unclear where the federal disaster application stands now, but he's heard it arrived in Washington in mid-December.

However, the current government shutdown could slow down the process even more, potentially impacting flood victims' tax refunds.

According to Marble Falls CPA Burl Harper, taxpayers cannot write off flood-damaged property unless a federal disaster declaration is in place.

"If they weren't insured this is the only way they're going to be able to get anything back they may only get 30 cents on the dollar but that's still something they can get back," says Harper.

Friday, President Trump said the government could remain shut down for months, or years unless both sides agree on a spending bill.

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