Residents should not homestead changes

Published 11:52 pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dallas County Tax Assessor Frances S. Hughes said there is a tweak to Code of Alabama property that people need to be reminded of.

The code requires that all those who have owned property since Oct. 1, 2011 need to assess that property in their name for the first time between Oct. 1, 2012 and Dec. 31, 2012. Any changes made to the property of taxpayers must be reported to the tax assessor’s office during this time frame and new homesteads should also be applied for then.

The passage of the State Legislature Act 2012-2013 on May 10 has made some changes in the homestead law as it pertains to the elderly or disabled taxpayers.

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“In the past, the tax assessor’s office has mailed out postcards to those who have previously qualified for these exemptions, both to remind the taxpayers to re-apply for their exemption and to also provide them with an application they can mail in if they aren’t able to come to the courthouse,” Hughes said. “This year each taxpayer with a special homestead exemption will receive a letter along with a new form to complete to renew their exemption for 2013.”

The tax assessor’s office also wants to remind individuals 65 years and older to provide proof of age, such as a driver’s license or birth certificate as well as their income. To show their income, persons can use a tax return or if they don’t have a filed tax return, they can use W2s or 1099 forms in order to do so.

The law formerly said that to be totally exempt from ad valorem taxes due to age, the taxpayer had to have a taxable income of $7,500 or less. The income level has increased to $12,000 or less.

“This should actually help some people,” Hughes said. “The disability exemption has inserted revised language saying that one must be retired due to disability, with proof of income of $12,000 or less.”

The documentation of the disability must be presented at the office and those wishing to do so can use letters from two different doctors or proof from Social Security or Veterans Affairs. Also private company disability annuity documents can be used for proof.

The letter and application forms will be mailed to those who have previously applied for homestead due to age or disability sometime before Oct. 1 of this year, according to Hughes.

Questions about those who wish to receive the application can contact the Dallas County Tax Assessor’s office at 874-2520 or come to the office in person located on the first floor of the Dallas County Courthouse.