St. Tammany Parish assessor asks some residents to re-apply for homestead exemption
About 1,000 St. Tammany Parish homeowners are being asked to go to the parish Assessor’s Office within the next month to prove they still are eligible for a homestead exemption, according to James Hartman, spokesman for Assessor Patricia Schwarz Core.
Through a recent “spot checks of files,” Hartman said, office personnel noticed some owners had never applied for an exemption. Rather, their exemption had been transferred to them after the purchase of their home.
That process was normal 20 years ago and beyond, so that “taxing bodies wouldn’t get an inflated estimate on what they were going to collect,” Hartman said. Homeowners were then supposed to go to the assessor’s office and fill out the required paperwork and show their deed.
“This procedure was stopped years ago,” Hartman said. “People would come in with other issues (recently), and it was realized the form was not there.”
He stressed “no one lost their homestead exemption. They are simply being asked to come in and bring the homestead exemption form.” For those who received a letter, they must bring proof of their residence, and the deed is not necessary.
The letter from Core reads: “After carefully reviewing your file for the above referenced assessment, it was discovered that we do not have a homestead exemption application on file in your name. Please bring your driver’s license or voter’s registration card verifying your address prior to June 29, 2012 to our office. You may complete the application at that time. The homestead exemption will be removed for the 2012 tax year if you do not apply for this exemption.”
Hartman added Core wants “things to be as tidy as possible” when new assessor Louis Fitzmorris takes over Jan. 1, 2013.