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Tax credit may ease defective drywall impact

By Staff | Jul 11, 2009

Florida homeowners who suffered property damage from drywall imported from China are eligible to receive thousands of dollars on their tax return, according to an announcement by the Internal Revenue Service.
Faulty drywall, reportedly imported from a German-owned manufacturing company in China, was found in homes throughout the state of Florida and in 20 other states.
Officials stated that homes built in 2004 were more likely to contain the drywall because a depletion of supplies during the construction boom forced many contractors to use the Chinese-imported material.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission began investigating cases in February after Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., requested the commission look into the reputed Chinese drywall contagion. His office reported in May that 36,000 Florida homes contained the drywall.
Homeowners have noticed unusual chemical fumes and damage to their homes, specifically the corrosion of electric wiring, air conditioning pipes and other household appliances. Although there has been no conclusive report on the health effects of the tainted drywall, homeowners claim it causes respiratory problems and irritation.
“This is coming as some relief to these families,” said Nelson in a prepared statement. “Considering the terrible circumstances they have had to endure, it’s only right that they are given special consideration.”
According to the IRS, the eligible deduction is the difference between the value of the house before and after the damage caused by the drywall.
Three families in north Cape Coral stated in March that their homes contained the drywall. Sonny and Joyce Dowdy, residents of Coral Lakes, said they had to replace their air conditioning coils after they turned from copper to black, and Sonny Dowdy said he’s been suffering from headaches and insomnia after the house emitted a foul odor.
Coral Gables-based law firm Roberts & Durkee filed a class action suit against Engle Homes on behalf of the local homeowners who say they have been affected by the drywall.
Not unlike hundreds of other families whose homes contain the imported drywall, the Dowdy family is trapped economically in a house they say is rotting from the inside. Even though it continues to emit an odor similar to burning chemicals or sulfur, they continue living in the home without any viable options.
“At this point it isn’t sellable, we can’t rent it or do anything with it,” she said. “We are still having the issues but it’s not like all of us can afford to have two or three homes to live in. This is where we live, this is our house.”
Tearing out and replacing the faulty drywall is an option, but the family has received conflicting opinions from local contractors whether removing the faulty drywall would solve the problem, she said.
Ultimately they would be thankful for any financial assistance they could receive on their tax return.
“I will have to look into it a little further, but of course I would try to get the deductions, we have lost a great deal of value on our home,” said Joyce Dowdy.
Nelson’s office received the first test results on Chinese drywall in May. The tests indicated it contains sulfur not present in U.S. manufactured drywall, strontium at levels ten times higher than other pieces of drywall and organic compounds found in acrylic paint.