Filing for Homestead Exemption
In order to qualify for homestead exemption, Louisiana State Law requires that the homeowner must own and occupy the residence by December 31st of the applicable tax year. If the homeowner purchases a home in 2009, the homeowner would be eligible for homestead exemption in the 2009 tax year. Louisiana State Law allows an individual one homestead exemption up to $75,000. Application for homestead can be made by applying in person at the Tax Assessor’s office in the Parish where the property is located. Some Parishes have an on-line system for filing. Call your Parish Assessor before you go, as they may have different procedures.
After qualifying for homestead exemption, the property owner does not need to reapply each year. The homestead exemption law gives property owners a tax break on their property taxes. The amount of savings that you would receive is generally about $800 per year depending on your assessed value and the millage rate in your area. It is important to remember that the homestead exemption does not exempt city taxes. If a property owner lives inside any city limits, he will owe some taxes regardless of the assessed value.
Extended Homestead Exemption for Qualifying Veterans
Beginning in the year 2012, property receiving the homestead exemption which is owned and occupied by a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 100% by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, may be exempt from parish ad valorem taxation for up to a maximum of $15,000 assessed value of property. The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 100% shall be eligible for this exemption if the exemption was in effect on the property prior to the death of the veteran and as long as the surviving spouse remains the owner and resides on the property.
Veterans who may qualify should bring to the assessor’s office a copy of the declaration page stating their disability from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. For further details, please contact one of our three offices.
Special Assessment Level
The Special Assessment Level allows someone who meets certain requirements to have the assessed value of the property frozen. Those who qualify for the special assessment level should be aware that this does not automatically freeze the amount of their tax bill. Only the assessed value will be frozen. The amount of taxes due could change due to an increase in a millage rate in your area or if the size of living area is increased.
- One of the owners must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1 of the qualifying year.
- Owner or owners must have a total combined adjusted gross income of less than $75,594.07.
- Applicants must own, occupy, and receive a homestead exemption on the property.
There are also special circumstances that would allow a surviving spouse who is 55 years of age or older or who has minor children to receive the special assessment level if the deceased spouse had previously qualified for it. If you are a surviving spouse, please call the Assessor’s Office to see if you qualify.
Also, a person who is 100% disabled and considered permanently disabled, or who has a 50% military service connected disability may qualify if they meet the same income requirement above.
Your Tax Bill
The Sheriff’s Office generates all tax bills from computer data furnished by the Assessor’s Office. Tax bills are generally mailed on or around the last week of November. It is important to note that if you purchased your property during the current tax year, the tax notice may be mailed to the prior owner. If you receive a letter from the Sheriff addressed to the prior owner or current resident, you should open the letter to determine if it is a tax bill for your recently purchased property. Compare property descriptions on the tax bill to your property. If they match, you should then make provisions for payment. Do not forward to the seller unless you have made prior arrangements for payment. Always remember that taxes are pro-rated (not paid) at the closing of the sale. All payments should be sent to the Sheriff and Tax Collector by December 31st of the same year to avoid penalties and interest. If your taxes are collected by your Lender, the lender will obtain a tax bill, however it is recommended that you send a copy of the tax bill you receive to your lender.
Check Your Mailing Address
A good mailing address is absolutely essential in the taxation process. Without a correct address, your homestead exemption card could be returned to the assessor’s office and cause your homestead exemption to be canceled. The address is also necessary for the sheriff to send your tax notices or other pertinent notices to you. In routine procedures, the assessor’s office utilizes the address furnished on the recorded property transaction to determine the proper mailing address. In addition, if you change addresses and do not sell your property, notify the Assessor of your new mailing address.
Change in Ownership
All property transfers are recorded in the Clerk of Court’s Office. Employees of the assessor’s office then review all recorded documents and obtain copies of the transfers in order to transfer ownership on the tax rolls. Louisiana law states that the owner of the property as of January 1st of that year shall receive the tax bill in that name.