In 1999, legislation was passed that benefitted senior citizens, and was later amended to include disabled veterans and permanently disabled homeowners. This constitutional amendment freezes the assessed value of the property owners’ homestead exempted property. It does not apply to any other property that the owner might own.
So, who is eligible for this assessment freeze? Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older; disabled veterans who have a service related disability of 50% or more; the widow of a serviceman who is a prisoner of war, missing in action or killed in action; persons who are permanently 100% disabled as determined by a judgment of court or certified by a state agency.
This assessment freeze could save owners from paying increased taxes over the years if millage rates remain the same. As millage rates increase, though, taxes will increase as well. This assessment freeze will not reduce your taxes, nor does it freeze the amount of taxes you pay. If voters pass any new millages or there is an increase in a millage rate, the taxes of an owner with an assessment freeze will increase even though the assessment freeze is in place.
For all of the above qualified persons, they must meet the income requirement to be eligible for the assessment freeze. The property owners’ combined adjusted gross income from the prior tax year cannot exceed $65,891. This income level is adjusted each year by the Louisiana Tax Commission. An eligible owner will need to file only once for this special assessment level, by filing a signed application form with the assessor’s office. Owners who believe they are eligible will need to bring proof of age, if applicable, and proof of income. The proof of income can be the previous year’s income tax filing. Once approved, the assessment freeze is permanent unless the ownership of the property changes or an improvement is made to the property that increases the value of the property by 25% or more.
If I or any of my staff can ever be of assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at the Rapides Parish Tax Assessor’s Office at (318) 448-8511.