Eligible property owners must file homestead applications by Dec. 15

Washington County property owners whose property is eligible for homestead classification because of a change should contact a county assessor to file a homestead application on or before Dec. 15.

Homestead classification affects the amount of property tax paid in 2013, and it might affect eligibility for a property tax refund.

Contact the county assessor to file a homestead application on or before Dec. 15 if one of the following applies:

n You purchased a property in the past year and you, or a qualifying relative, occupy the property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1; or

n You, or a qualifying relative occupy a property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1, and the property was previously classified as non-homestead.

A qualifying relative for homestead purposes depends on the type of property. For residential property, a qualifying relative can be a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the owner. This relationship can be by blood or marriage. For agricultural property, a qualifying relative can be a child, grandchild, sibling or parent of the owner or of the spouse of the owner.

Once property owners have been granted the homestead classification, no further applications are necessary unless the county assessor specifically requests an application.

Property owners must also contact the assessor by Dec. 15 if they are the property owner, or a qualifying relative of the property owner, and the use of the property has changed during the past year.

If property owners should sell, move or for any reason no longer qualify for the homestead classification, they are required to notify the county assessor within 30 days of the change in homestead status. Failure to notify the county assessor within this 30-day period is punishable by recalculation of tax as non-homestead, in addition to a penalty equal to 100 percent of the homestead benefits.

Call the County Assessment Division at 651-430-6175 for more information.

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