MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2023 Regular Session

To: Finance

By: Senator(s) Parks

Senate Bill 2836

AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 27-33-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT A HOMEOWNER ALLOWED AN EXEMPTION FROM ALL AD VALOREM TAXES ON THE ASSESSED VALUE OF HOMESTEAD PROPERTY, DUE TO A SERVICE-CONNECTED, TOTAL DISABILITY AS AN AMERICAN VETERAN WHO HAS BEEN HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM MILITARY SERVICE, SHALL BE PERMITTED TO APPLY FOR THE EXEMPTION WITHIN 30 CALENDAR DAYS OF THE CLOSING DATE FOR THE HOMESTEAD PURCHASE, BUT NOT LATER THAN DECEMBER 31 OF THE YEAR OF PURCHASE; TO PROVIDE THAT IF, AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION, THE APPLICANT HAS HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ON ANOTHER PROPERTY, THE EFFECT OF THE NEW APPLICATION ON THE OLD HOMESTEAD PROPERTY SHALL BE THE SAME AS IF THE NEW APPLICATION WERE FILED ON OR BEFORE APRIL 1; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 27-33-69, 27-33-71 AND 27-33-73, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE TABLES FOR AD VALOREM TAX EXEMPTIONS CLAIMED AND FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT WAS MADE IN PREVIOUS YEARS; TO AMEND SECTION 27-33-67, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE REPEAL OF THE ABOVE SECTIONS; TO BRING FORWARD SECTIONS 27-33-33 AND 27-33-75, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, FOR THE PURPOSE OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

     BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:

     SECTION 1.  Section 27-33-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-33-31.  (1)  It shall be the duty of every person, who is eligible for and desires the homestead exemption provided for in this article, to comply with the following provisions:

          (a)  He shall make written application to the county tax assessor on the prescribed form, on or before the first day of April.  Applications not on file on or before April 1 of the current year may not be filed, may not be dated back, may not be accepted by the assessor, may not be allowed by the board of supervisors, and may not be considered by the commission, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection.

     Any person who has on file with the tax assessor a valid allowed claim for homestead exemption filed on or after January 1, 1991, shall not be required to annually thereafter reapply for such claim for exemption but shall be credited with such exemption each year so long as such person is entitled to homestead exemption on the same property and there has been no change in the property description, ownership, use or occupancy since January 1 of the preceding year.  In the event changes have occurred in the status of the homestead in the property description, ownership, use or occupancy since January 1 of the preceding year, and in the event such person is still eligible for homestead exemption, he shall file a new application and provide all the information required under this section as for the initial application.  However, the requirement to file a new application shall not apply to a surviving spouse who is still eligible for homestead exemption.  If the deceased spouse qualified for the exemption provided in Section 27-33-67(2), but the surviving spouse does not qualify for such exemption, the surviving spouse must file a new application for homestead exemption.

          (b)  (i)  In cases where the Governor declares by written proclamation that the courthouse or other place that the tax assessor's office may be located is damaged to such an extent that it is not possible to accept applications for homestead exemption, then the Governor may extend the period for filing by a period not to exceed thirty (30) days.

               (ii)  From and after January 1, 2023, persons allowed an exemption under Section 27-33-75(2)(b) shall be permitted to apply for the exemption within thirty (30) calendar days of the closing date for the homestead purchase, but not later than December 31 of the year of purchase.  If, at the time of application, the applicant has homestead exemption on another property, the effect of the new application on the old homestead property shall be the same as if the new application were filed on or before April 1.

          (c)  He shall make the application in quadruplicate.

          (d)  He shall make separate applications, as provided above, to the respective assessors if the property claimed for exemption lies in two (2) counties, first with the assessor of the county of residence, and then with the assessor of the other county, submitting at the same time two (2) copies of the first application, certified by the chancery clerk as specified by Section 27-33-23(f).

          (e)  He shall deliver to the assessor the application marked "original," the copy marked "duplicate," and the copy marked "triplicate."

          (f)  He shall retain the copy marked "quadruplicate" as evidence that the application was made and filed, which quadruplicate may be filed with the board if the original and duplicate are lost; and certified copies of the quadruplicate may be used when so ordered by the board, not later than the meeting of the board held in March of the year following the year in which the application was executed, under such rules and regulations as the commission shall prescribe.

          (g)  He shall state on the application the name, date of birth, social security number, phone number and email address of the owner of the property, and the number and status of all occupants of the home, other than the owner's family.  If the applicant is married, he shall state on the application the name, date of birth, social security number, phone number and email address of the spouse.

          (h)  He shall state the full name of the applicant, whether the same as the name of the owner or not.

          (i)  He shall give a parcel number, which shall clearly locate and identify it, and state the acreage contained, as prescribed in Section 27-33-27.

          (j)  He shall state the kind of title, or ownership right held, from whom and how obtained, and the names of all present owners.

          (k)  He shall state the number of book and page where the deed, or other conveyance or evidence of ownership, is of public record, or attach to both the original and duplicate application a certified copy of the conveyance by which title is claimed, or copies supported by affidavit of the holder, or by one who has seen and verified the original; or such other evidence of title as may be required by the commission; and the instrument by which title is claimed shall be placed of record, if it may be admitted to record.

          (l)  He shall state the price for which the property was sold and conveyed to the owner, the amount of the unpaid principal, if any, and the terms of payment thereof, if it was acquired by the owner after July 1, 1938, as evidenced by the date of the acknowledgment of the conveyance.  The purchase price and the amount of unpaid principal shall not be required more than one (1) time.

          (m)  He shall state if any part of the dwelling or land is rented or leased, and the kind of business conducted in the home or on the land.

          (n)  He shall furnish all the information required by the application, which must be true and correct, and he must supply it in the event he does not prepare the application with his own hand.  Except as otherwise provided in Section 27-33-33(2), the information given on the application must not be made or inserted by the assessor or by anyone, except as furnished by the applicant.

          (o)  He shall make the original application in person or in such manner as may be provided under the rules and regulations of the commission; or it may be made by his agent or attorney, duly constituted in writing, and a copy of such written authority, duly sworn to and acknowledged or attested by two (2) competent witnesses shall be attached to each the original, the duplicate, and the triplicate application for homestead exemption; but the husband or wife may sign for the other if living in the same dwelling.

          (p)  He shall make affidavit to the application and to the truth of all statements made and answers to questions contained therein, and the oath may be administered by the tax assessor, a member of the board of supervisors, or any other officer authorized by law to take acknowledgments.

          (q)  He shall give such other pertinent information as may be required by the commission; and he shall promptly give any information requested, and answer any question propounded by the assessor or member of the board of supervisors.

          (r)  When an applicant has filed a timely application, but has failed to make known his eligibility for an additional exemption as provided for in Section 27-33-67(2), then an application for additional homestead exemption may be filed under such rules and regulations as the commission shall prescribe.

     (2)  The board of supervisors may authorize a charge of Fifty Cents (50˘) per subsequent annual renewal application, which is returned by the applicant by mail, to be used toward defraying the expense of the mailing process of the subsequent annual renewal application.  The charge provided for herein shall not be assessed against any person returning the subsequent annual renewal application in person.

     (3)  In addition to any other fine, imprisonment or sentence which may be imposed for violation of the Mississippi Homestead Exemption Law of 1946, any person who violates such law through fraudulent application or by willful failure to notify the tax assessor of changes in the status of the homestead, when required to do so under subsection (1)(a) of this section, shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction may be punished by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, or both.

     SECTION 2.  Sections 27-33-69, 27-33-71 and 27-33-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide tables for ad valorem tax exemptions claimed in 1985 through 1987, and for which reimbursement was made in 1986 through 1988, are repealed.

     SECTION 3.  Section 27-33-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

     27-33-67.  (1)  Each qualified homeowner under sixty-five (65) years of age on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is claimed, and who is not totally disabled as herein defined shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes in the amount prescribed in Section 27-33-69, 27-33-71, 27-33-73 or 27-33-75, whichever is applicable to the year for which the exemption is claimed.

     (2)  Each qualified homeowner who has reached sixty-five (65) years of age on or before January 1 of the year for which the exemption is claimed, who is totally disabled as herein defined, or who is the unremarried surviving spouse of a homeowner referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes in the manner prescribed in Section * * * 27‑33‑69, 27‑33‑71, 27‑33‑73 or 27-33-75 * * *, whichever is applicable to the year for which the exemption is claimed.

     To qualify for the exemptions provided for in this article because of disability, the homeowner must present proper proof of any of the following:

          (a)  Service-connected, total disability as an American veteran who has been honorably discharged from military service.

          (b)  Classification as totally disabled under the federal Social Security Act (42 USCS Section 416(i)), the Railroad Retirement Act or any other federal act approved by the Department of Revenue.

              (i)  If a person is eligible for classification as totally disabled under the federal acts referred to in this subsection (2)(b), but does not qualify to receive benefits thereunder because his annual income exceeds an amount set as the maximum allowed in qualifying to receive the benefits, then he is eligible for the disability exemptions specified in this article.  Proper proof of such eligibility shall be determined by the Department of Revenue.

               (ii)  If a person is eligible for classification as totally disabled under the federal Social Security Act (42 USCA Section 416(i)), but does not qualify to receive benefits thereunder only because he has not made the necessary social security contributions, then he is eligible for the disability exemptions specified in this article.  Proper proof of such eligibility shall be determined by the Department of Revenue.  The provisions of this subparagraph (ii) shall apply to any homeowner filing for the disability exemption on or after January 1, 1992.

          (c)  Classification as totally disabled under the provisions of a retirement plan that is considered to be qualified under the United States Internal Revenue Code.  The determination of whether or not a retirement plan is so qualified shall be made by the Department of Revenue.

          (d)  Classification as totally disabled as determined by the Department of Revenue pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Revenue.

     Proper proof of classification as totally disabled under the federal acts referred to in subsection (2)(b) or (2)(c), including proof of the total disability and of eligibility to qualify to receive benefits under the relevant federal act or qualified retirement plan, shall be determined by the Department of Revenue.

     The property owned jointly by husband and wife and property owned in fee simple by either spouse, if either spouse shall fulfill the age or disability requirement, shall be eligible for the exemption allowed in this article in full.  On all other jointly owned property, the amount of the allowable exemption shall be determined on the basis of each individual joint owner's qualifications and pro rata share of the property.

     (3)  Those homeowners and unremarried surviving spouses described in subsection (2) of this section and who qualify for the exemptions under this article shall also be exempt from the forest acreage tax authorized by Section 49-19-115 applicable to property included in the homestead.

     SECTION 4.  Section 27-33-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-33-33.  (1)  The county tax assessor shall perform such duties as are generally required by him by this article and with respect to exempt homesteads, and the application therefor, and his duties are specifically defined as follows:

          (a)  He shall, in each year the land roll is made, require that all lands and buildings which have been or are claimed for homestead exemption be separately assessed on the land roll; and he shall, in the case of homestead lands not already separately assessed on the land roll, prepare proper notice to the board of supervisors requesting that the land assessment roll be changed so that all homestead property shall be separately assessed; and in the case of newly constructed dwellings, he shall carefully inspect the same and recommend to the board the value at which such dwellings should be assessed; and when rural lands are divided and a part included in the homestead exemption, he shall assess the respective tracts at the value used for cultivable lands and for uncultivable lands, and fairly assess homesteads and nonhomesteads at the same proportion to true value.

          (b)  He shall keep available a supply of the prescribed blank homestead exemption applications, and he shall require each applicant to properly execute the application in entire conformity with the requirements of Section 27-33-31.

          (c)  He shall aid the applicant in executing the application.

          (d)  He shall notify the applicant if an application for homestead exemption is incorrect or incomplete in any substantial particular, and require that it be properly and completely executed before accepting it for delivery to the clerk.

          (e)  He shall, when an application is accepted by him, retain the original, the duplicate and the triplicate.  He shall endorse "filed" on the quadruplicate with the date and his official signature and return it to the applicant as evidence of the application and that it was filed.

          (f)  He shall promptly give to the board of supervisors any knowledge or information he may have, or any fact he may have knowledge of, bearing on the eligibility of the applying person or property and not revealed in the application; and note on the application any condition requiring special consideration.

          (g)  He shall, on the first day of each month, deliver to the clerk of the board of supervisors all originals and duplicates of applications for homestead exemption received and accepted by him during the preceding month.

          (h)  He shall attend all meetings of the board when any matter with respect to homestead exemptions is being considered by it and shall render such assistance and perform such services as the board may direct from time to time.

          (i)  He shall, at least ten (10) days but not more than thirty (30) days prior to April 1 of each year, publish notice in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which he serves as tax assessor informing persons who are receiving homestead exemption that the tax assessor must be notified if changes have occurred in the status of the homestead in the property description, ownership, use or occupancy since January 1 of the preceding year and that, in the event such persons are still eligible for homestead exemption, a new application for homestead exemption must be filed.

     (2)  (a)  If the tax assessor discovers a change in ownership in a portion of the homestead property that may result in the homestead exemption being applied to ineligible property and the owner of the homestead property fails to file a new application during the preceding year as required by Section 27-33-31, the tax assessor may amend the application to reflect such change on or before June 1 of that roll year.

          (b)  If parcel number changes occur due to reappraisal, mapping maintenance or updates, the tax assessor may amend the homestead application to reflect such changes on behalf of the owner of the homestead on or before June 1 of that roll year.

          (c)  If a change in ownership occurs because of the death of an owner and the surviving spouse of the owner is still eligible for homestead exemption and not required to file a new application, the tax assessor may amend the application by removing the name of the deceased spouse and adding the surviving spouse's birth date for the purpose of correcting the land roll and the supplemental roll.

          (d)  Should eligible property on an initial or renewed application fail to be listed due to a clerical error, such application may be amended by the tax assessor on behalf of the applicant to list such eligible property prior to the last Monday in August.

          (e)  Amendments made to applications under this subsection may be allowed by the board of supervisors and certified to the commission.

     SECTION 5.  Section 27-33-75, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:

     27-33-75.  (1)  Qualified homeowners described in subsection (1) of Section 27-33-67 shall be allowed an exemption from ad valorem taxes according to the following table:

     ASSESSED VALUE                                     HOMESTEAD

      OF HOMESTEAD                                      EXEMPTION

 $  1 - $ 150........................................... $  6.00

  151 -   300...........................................   12.00

  301 -   450...........................................   18.00

  451 -   600...........................................   24.00

  601 -   750...........................................   30.00

  751 -   900...........................................   36.00

  901 - 1,050...........................................   42.00

1,051 - 1,200...........................................   48.00

1,201 - 1,350...........................................   54.00

1,351 - 1,500...........................................   60.00

1,501 - 1,650...........................................   66.00

1,651 - 1,800...........................................   72.00

1,801 - 1,950...........................................   78.00

1,951 - 2,100...........................................   84.00

2,101 - 2,250...........................................   90.00

2,251 - 2,400...........................................   96.00

2,401 - 2,550........................................... 102.00

2,551 - 2,700........................................... 108.00

2,701 - 2,850........................................... 114.00

2,851 - 3,000........................................... 120.00

3,001 - 3,150........................................... 126.00

3,151 - 3,300........................................... 132.00

3,301 - 3,450........................................... 138.00

3,451 - 3,600........................................... 144.00

3,601 - 3,750........................................... 150.00

3,751 - 3,900........................................... 156.00

3,901 - 4,050........................................... 162.00

4,051 - 4,200........................................... 168.00

4,201 - 4,350........................................... 174.00

4,351 - 4,500........................................... 180.00

4,501 - 4,650........................................... 186.00

4,651 - 4,800........................................... 192.00

4,801 - 4,950........................................... 198.00

4,951 - 5,100........................................... 204.00

5,101 - 5,250........................................... 210.00

5,251 - 5,400........................................... 216.00

5,401 - 5,550........................................... 222.00

5,551 - 5,700........................................... 228.00

5,701 - 5,850........................................... 234.00

5,851 - 6,000........................................... 240.00

6,001 - 6,150........................................... 246.00

6,151 - 6,300........................................... 252.00

6,301 - 6,450........................................... 258.00

6,451 - 6,600........................................... 264.00

6,601 - 6,750........................................... 270.00

6,751 - 6,900........................................... 276.00

6,901 - 7,050........................................... 282.00

7,051 - 7,200........................................... 288.00

7,201 - 7,350........................................... 294.00

7,351 and above......................................... 300.00

     Assessed values shall be rounded to the next whole dollar (Fifty Cents (50˘) rounded to the next highest dollar) for the purposes of the above table.

     One-half (1/2) of the exemption allowed in the above table shall be from taxes levied for school district purposes and  one-half (1/2) shall be from taxes levied for county general fund purposes.

     (2)  (a)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, qualified homeowners described in subsection (2) of Section 27-33-67 shall be allowed an exemption from all ad valorem taxes on not in excess of Seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($7,500.00) of the assessed value of the homestead property.

          (b)  From and after January 1, 2015, qualified homeowners described in subsection (2)(a) of Section 27-33-67 and unremarried surviving spouses of such homeowners shall be allowed an exemption from all ad valorem taxes on the assessed value of the homestead property.

          (c)  Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (c), a qualified homeowner claiming an exemption under paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be allowed an additional exemption from all ad valorem taxes on an amount equal to the difference between (i) the assessed value of the homestead property on January 1, 2018, or January 1 of the first year for which the qualified homeowner claims an exemption for the homestead property under paragraph (a) of this subsection, and (ii) any increase in the assessed value of the homestead property resulting from a subsequent update in valuation of the homestead property that is completed during the time the qualified homeowner owns the property.  In addition, if a subsequent update in valuation of the homestead property that is completed during the time the qualified homeowner owns the property results in the assessed value of the homestead property being less than the assessed value of the property on January 1, 2018, or January 1 of the first year for which the qualified homeowner claims an exemption for the homestead property under paragraph (a) of this subsection, then the exemption authorized under this paragraph (c) shall be on an amount equal to the difference between (i) such lower assessed value and (ii) any increase in the assessed value of the homestead property resulting from a subsequent update in valuation of the homestead property that is completed during the time the qualified homeowner owns the property.  However, except for renovations, expansions, improvements or additions to promote energy efficiency, safety or access to the homestead property, the exemption authorized in this paragraph (c) shall not apply to any portion of increase in the assessed value of the homestead property that is attributable to renovations, expansions or improvements of or additions to the property during such time.  For the purposes of this paragraph (c), an update in valuation of the homestead property occurs when a county has completed an update in the valuation of Class I property, as designated by Section 112, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, in the county according to procedures prescribed by the Department of Revenue and in effect on January 1, 2018, and for which the Department of Revenue has certified that such new valuations have been implemented for the purposes of ad valorem taxation.

     (3)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, this section shall apply to exemptions claimed in the 2001 calendar year for which reimbursement is made in the 2002 calendar year and to exemptions claimed for which reimbursement is made in subsequent years.  The exemption provided for in subsection (2)(b) of this section shall apply to exemptions claimed in the 2015 calendar year for which reimbursement is made in the 2016 calendar year and to exemptions claimed for which reimbursement is made in subsequent years.  The exemption provided for in subsection (2)(c) of this section shall apply to exemptions claimed in the 2018 calendar year for which reimbursement is made in the 2019 calendar year and to exemptions claimed for which reimbursement is made in subsequent years.

     SECTION 6.  This act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 2023.