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Homestead exemption changes coming

The Alabama Legislature passed an act during their last session that will become effective for ad valorem tax assessments on October 1 of this year for property taxes that will be collected on October 1, 2013


The new law changes the qualifications for receiving homestead exemptions for taxpayers age 65 and older, or for taxpayers who are retired because of permanent and total disability. Under this law taxpayers previously approved for a 100 percent homestead exemption must recertify their qualifications to continue to receive their exemption.

The act requires that taxpayers who are 65 or older have a combined net taxable income of the taxpayer and his or her spouse on their most recent United States Tax Return of $12,000 or less, or that taxpayers are retired because of permanent and total disability and the combined net taxable income of the taxpayer and his or her spouse on their most recent United States Tax Return is $12,000 or less.  This change closes a loophole that recently allowed some elderly or disabled taxpayers whose spouse had healthy incomes to qualify for these exemptions.

Proof of the taxpayer being retired because of a disability can include the receipt of a pension or annuity due to disability from a private company, a state agency, a federal government agency or a written certification from two physicians licensed to practice medicine in Alabama.

If a taxpayer fails to respond to the exemption recertification request by December 31, 2012, he or she may lose their total homestead exemption for the assessment period beginning October 1, 2012. In recent years the exemption recertification has been mailed in the form of a yellow card, but this year taxpayers should look for an enveloped letter from the office of Ron Crawford, Jackson County Revenue Commissioner.

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