Sen. Inhofe introduces storm shelter bill

Citing extreme weather conditions that have claimed the lives of over 500 victims this year, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has introduced legislation to provide taxpayers an incentive to build storm shelters in their homes.

The bill titled S. 1583, the Storm Shelter Tax Relief Act of 2011, gives a tax deduction of up to $2,500 to American taxpayers who purchase and install qualified storm shelters. Qualified expenses include the purchase, construction, and installation of a storm shelter or safe room that is capable of withstanding an EF5 tornado.

“This legislation is essential to protecting Americans across the nation from extreme weather conditions like tornadoes,” said Inhofe. “Currently, our nation offers very few resources to assist homeowners with proactively protecting their families from severe weather. This year alone, tornadoes have devastated 14 states and killed 550 people. Even more alarming is the fact that over 734 deadly tornadoes have claimed the lives of over 2,000 people since 1980.  This preventative measure is necessary to states that, like Oklahoma, are most vulnerable to severe weather.”

Inhofe continued, “This tax deduction provides a storm shelter incentive that is free from bureaucratic red tape, and its $41 million cost is paid for by the rescission of funds previously authorized for storm shelter construction grants. By exercising fiscal responsibility, this legislation still provides needed assistance for the purchase and installation of storm shelters nationwide.”


  • S. 1583 offers a tax deduction of up to $2,500 to taxpayers who purchase and install qualified storm shelters.
  • Currently, a small amount of funds are sporadically available through the Federal Emergency Management’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). However, these rebates have failed to provide Americans with a continuous incentive to build a storm shelter.
  • S. 1583 is paid for by rescinded funds administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • The deduction can only be claimed by taxpayers who attach the storm shelter or safe room for their primary residence, which they must own.
  • Storm shelters and safe room can cost between $2,000 to $10,000 dollars. Allowing taxpayers to deduct the fist $2,500 spent on a storm shelter encourages them to install at least the most basic type while still allowing them to claim the deduction if they decide that a more expensive option is best for them.