An important property tax notice will affect the amount of property tax paid in 2013, and may affect eligibility for a property-tax refund.
Property owners in Stearns County who need a homestead classification have until Dec. 17 to file the application. Contact the county assessor at 320-656-3680 or stop in their office to file a homestead application if one of the following applies:
• A property was purchased in the past year and the owner, or a qualifying relative, occupies the property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1; or
• The property owner or a qualifying relative occupies a property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1 and the property was previously classified as non-homestead.
A qualifying relative for homestead purposes depends on the type of property. For residential property it can be a parent, step-parent, 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 of the spouse of the owner.
The Stearns County assessor must also be contacted by Dec. 17 by the property owner or a qualifying relative of the property owner if the use of the property has changed during the past year.
If the property owner should sell, move or for any reason no longer qualify for the homestead classification, they 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.