Homestead filing could affect taxes, return

Contact your county assessor to file a homestead application on or before December 15, 2012, if you purchased a property in the past year and you, or a qualifying relative, occupy the property for homestead purposes on December 1, 2012; or you, or a qualifying relative occupy a property for homestead purposes on December 1, 2012, 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 parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the owner. This relationship may be by blood or marriage. For agricultural property, a qualifying relative can be a child, grandchild, sibling or parent of the owner or a child or grandchild or sibling of the spouse of the owner.

Once you have been granted the homestead classification, no further applications are necessary unless they are specifically requested by the county assessor.

You must also contact the assessor by December 15, 2012, if you 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 you should sell, move, or for any reason no longer qualify for the homestead classification, you 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.

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