Community

News from Jefferson Parish Assessor Thomas Capella

Did you know that senior citizens can apply for a senior citizen special assessment level homestead exemption freeze? In 1998 a constitutional amendment was passed that allows the assessed value on a home owned and occupied by a person 65 years of age or older and who meets certain income requirements to receive a “freeze” in the assessed value of their home.

In 2006 a constitutional amendment was passed that allows the assessed value on a home owned and occupied by a person with certain disabilities and who meet certain income requirements to receive a “freeze” in the assessed value of their home. This freeze became effective January 1, 2007.

The purpose of this legislation was to provide property owners in their senior years and property owners with certain disabilities with some protection from escalating property values due to inflation. Since its inception, this special assessment level exemption has led to thousands of dollars in savings for seniors and property owners with certain disabilities especially during the years when property values are reassessed.

Homeowners who are 65 years or older, or who have a permanent disability, or are the surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces or Louisiana National Guard killed in action, missing in action, or a prisoner of war may be able to “freeze” the assessed value at which their home is assessed if they meet certain conditions. The homeowner must have a homestead exemption applied to the property for which they are seeking the special assessment level and must meet certain income requirements.

The Special Assessment Level Homestead Exemption “freeze” only freezes the assessed value of your home. It does not “freeze” the tax rate on which your annual property tax bill is based. Your property tax bill may vary from year to year based on millage rate changes. Millage rates are levied by each taxing body. The Assessor’s office is not responsible for setting millage rates.

If property owners continue to approve new millages, your taxes will continue to increase. To qualify for the Senior Citizens Special Assessment Level Homestead Exemption “freeze” you must meet both of the following: You must be 65 years of age or older by the end of the year in which you are applying. Additionally you must meet the income requirement as set forth by the Louisiana legislature. This income requirement changes annually. You may call the Assessor’s office for the most up to date income requirement. Once you qualify for the special assessment level homestead exemption, it will become permanent as long as you continue to own and occupy your home and as long as the value of the property does not increase more than twenty-five percent because of construction or reconstruction.

To qualify for the Disability-Related Special Assessment Level Homestead Exemption “freeze” you must meet the income requirement as set forth by the Louisiana legislature. This income requirement changes annually. You may call the Assessor’s office for the most up to date income requirement. Please note that once you qualify for and receive the special assessment level homestead exemption for disability you must reapply each year. In addition to the income requirement, you must also meet one of the requirements listed below.:

1. A homeowner who occupies their home and who has a service-connected disability rating of fifty percent or more by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
OR
2. The surviving spouse of a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Louisiana National Guard who owned and last occupied such property who was killed in action, or who is missing in action or is a prisoner of war for a period exceeding ninety days.
OR
3. A homeowner who occupies their home and is permanently totally disabled as determined by a final non-appealable judgment of a court or as certified by a state or federal administrative agency charged with the responsibility for making determinations regarding disabilities.

For more information please contact the Jefferson Parish Assessor’s Office at 504-363-4100.

About the author

The West Bank Beacon

The West Bank Beacon is a local monthly publication with a mailed circulation of over 15,000 and thousands more distributed at points from Gretna to Grand Isle, the Beacon tells the story of a thriving community. A “good news” newspaper, our mission is to make readers aware of how both individuals and groups are making a positive difference in the neighborhoods where they live. This includes a focus on civic and city initiatives, volunteer efforts, and charity fundraisers, to name just a few examples.

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