Friday, January 9, 2009

Qualified homeowners 65 and over can get property assessments frozen

Louisiana homeowners who are 65 or older might save a few dollars on their tax bills by freezing their property assessments.

Brian Wilson, the East Baton Rouge Parish assessor, said the process is fairly simple.

“At the beginning of each year, around February, we mail out a small application card to every property owner who has a homestead exemption to find out if they’re qualified for this special assessment level.”

Once the cards are returned to the assessor’s office, the staff determines whether the property owner has met the qualifications. “Once we determine they’re qualified, we take care of it at our office,” Wilson said.

To qualify for the special assessment level: one of the owners must be 65 or older; the owner or owners must have a total combined annual adjusted gross income of less than $62,180; and applicants must own, occupy and receive a homestead exemption on the property.

The assessor cautions eligible property owners to remember one important fact: “Even if your property assessment is frozen, your taxes can still go up. A taxing agency could levy a new tax or increase a tax or the homeowner could add on an addition. All of these would cause your taxes to go up.”

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