1997 Regular Session

To: Ways and Means

By: Representative Williams

House Bill 1261

(As Sent to Governor)



SECTION 1. Section 27-33-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

27-33-37. The board of supervisors shall perform the duties imposed by this article on the members, the president, and the board as a unit, with the powers and authority granted and as necessary for the proper administration of the article, and specifically as set out in this section.

(a) At each regular monthly meeting the president of the board shall require of and receive from the clerk of the board all applications for homestead exemption having come into his hands as provided in Section 27-33-35 of this article.

(b) As soon as practicable after convening, at each regular monthly meeting, the board, in the light of public records, personal knowledge, information given by the assessor, and any other reliable source of information that may be available, shall examine each application which has been delivered to the clerk by the tax assessor, and pass upon its correctness and the eligibility of the property and of the person, under the law, as fully as may be done before final approval, after the land roll has been finally approved of minute record; and the board shall carefully consider and construe the relationship between buyers and sellers of property on which homestead exemption is sought, and the terms, conditions, rate of interest, payments made and to be made, of all conveyances doubtful in such respect. One (1) member of the board shall check each application prior to the time for final approval, and shall indicate if it should be approved, disapproved, or if it requires further investigation.

(c) If any application be found incorrect or incomplete in any particular required by law, or deficient in any respect, the board shall give notice immediately to the applicant, in writing, by mail, advising the applicant of the defect and the nature thereof, so that the applicant may correct same, if it can be corrected, before the time for final action by the board.

(d) The year in which the land roll is made, at the meeting of the board of supervisors at which the certificate of the commission finally approving the land assessment roll is received and entered in its minutes, and at the September meeting the board of supervisors shall complete the consideration of each and every application for homestead exemption; and all applications, or claims, not clearly within the provisions and requirements of this article shall be disallowed by the board. Where it appears to the board, in a case or cases involving transactions completed after July 1, 1938, that conveyances have been made without bona fide consideration, and liens taken with questionable consideration or values, or where the payments on the principal have not been made as required, or there is evidence of any kind that the transactions were not bona fide in every particular, and were entered into for the purpose of obtaining a homestead exemption contrary to the letter and spirit of law, the application shall be disallowed.

(e) Each application shall be plainly endorsed "allowed" or "disallowed" as the case may be, over the date, and the signature of the president of the board, who may use a facsimile stamp for the purposes; and, in the space provided on the application for that purpose, there shall be entered for each assessment, (1) the page and line number of the assessment on the land roll, (2) the total number of acres, (3) the total assessed value of the land, (4) the assessed value of the buildings, (5) the total assessed value of the exempted land and buildings, (6) the assessed value of the land and buildings not exempted, (7) the name of the road district, if any, in which the property lies, and (8) the name of the school district in which the property lies.

(f) All applicants, whose applications are finally disallowed by the board, shall be given notice immediately by the board, in writing, by mail. Petitions and objections by applicants for correction or amendment shall be heard by the board at the next regular meeting of the board after notice that the application was finally disallowed.

(g) It shall not be necessary that an order be entered on the minutes of the board which allows or disallows an application as provided by paragraph (f) hereof, unless there be a division among the board members, then an order shall be entered on the minutes recording the aye and nay vote.

(h) The board of supervisors shall have, and is hereby given, the power and authority to summon and examine witnesses under oath, to examine records, and to do any and all other things necessary and proper to ascertain the facts with respect to any application, or claim, for homestead exemption presented to it. The board shall disallow any application for homestead exemption when it is found that the person or the property was ineligible, after the supplemental roll is approved and within one (1) year after that in which the application was executed; and it shall correct, likewise, any and all errors found in the supplemental roll. When an application is disallowed by the board after the supplemental roll has been approved, it shall give notice and proceed as in the case of a rejection by the commission. A certified copy of the order finally disallowing an application, and making a correction in the supplemental roll must be adopted before the last Monday of August and shall be received by the commission no later than September 15 of the year following the year in which the supplemental roll was made.

(i) At the first regular or special meeting of the board of supervisors held after the supplemental roll, required by Section 27-33-35 of this article, has been made, it shall examine the said roll, and if found correct shall enter in the minutes an order approving the same; and the applications disallowed shall be listed in the minutes by name and amount, with the reason for disallowance. A copy of said order shall be attached to the supplemental roll and sent to the commission.

(j) All applicants whose applications are rejected for reimbursement of tax loss by the commission, after having been allowed by the board, shall be given notice immediately by the board, in writing, by mail, with the reasons for the rejection by the commission, and the applicants shall have thirty (30) days in which to file objections thereto, which objections shall be heard by the board at the same or the next regular meeting after objections are filed by the applicant. If the board finds that in its opinion the application should be allowed, it shall continue the matter in its record, and present its objection to the rejection, with evidence in support of same, to the commission. All applications finally rejected by the commission shall be disallowed by the board, and entered of minute record.

(k) When the board shall receive notice from the commission that an application for homestead exemption has been rejected by the commission for reimbursement of tax loss, the board shall proceed in the manner prescribed in paragraph (j) hereof. Upon the hearing of objections of the applicant, if the board finds that the application should be disallowed, it shall so order and notify the commission that its rejection has been "accepted." If the board is of the opinion that the application should be allowed, it shall notify the commission that it objects to the rejection of the application, and shall submit, in writing, its reasons for the "objection." All such matters between the board and the commission may be concluded by correspondence, or by personal appearance of the board, or one or more of its members, the clerk, or the assessor, or by a representative of the commission present at any meeting of the board. The decision of the commission rejecting an application for reimbursement of the tax loss shall be final, and the board shall disallow the application and proceed as hereinafter provided.

(l) It shall be the duty of the board, and it is hereby given the power to order the tax collector, by an order entered on its minutes, to reassess, and list as subject to all taxes, the property described in an application for homestead exemption and as entered on the regular land assessment roll, under the following circumstances:

(i) When an application for homestead exemption is finally rejected by the commission for reimbursement of tax loss which has been regularly approved by the board and entered on the supplemental roll; or

(ii) Where an application has been wrongfully allowed by the board.

When any property has been reassessed as herein provided, all additional taxes due as a result of such reassessment shall become due and be payable on or before the first day of February of the year following that in which notice to make the reassessment is issued; and if not paid, the tax collector shall proceed to sell the property for the additional taxes in the same manner and at the same time other property is sold for the current year's taxes, or he may collect the taxes by all methods by which other taxes on real estate may be collected. Provided, no penalty or interest shall be applied for any period prior to February 1 of the year following that in which the reassessment is made, and provided further, that such reassessment shall not take effect or become a lien on the property of bona fide purchasers or encumbrancers for value without notice thereof, unless there shall have been filed prior to their attaining such status a notice of rejection in the chancery clerk's office in the county in which the property is located, which notice shall be recorded and indexed as are deeds; but the applicant shall in all cases remain personally liable for such reassessment.

(m) The board of supervisors may employ the clerk of the board to collect and assemble data and information and to perform the services required of the board by paragraph (e) of this section and to make investigations required in connection with the duties of the board in determining the eligibility of homestead exemptions and to perform all other ministerial duties required of the board in connection with administering the Homestead Exemption Law and as directed by the board. If the board employs the clerk, he shall be paid out of the general county fund as follows: for the first two thousand (2,000) applications he may, in the discretion of the board, be paid not exceeding One Dollar ($1.00) each, for the next two thousand (2,000) applications he may be paid not exceeding Seventy-five Cents (754) each, for the next two thousand (2,000) applications he may be paid not exceeding Fifty Cents (504) each, for the next two thousand (2,000) applications he may be paid not exceeding Thirty-five Cents (354) each, all over the above number he shall be paid not exceeding Twenty-five Cents (254) each. The board shall require the assessor to correctly describe all lands included in any applications for homestead exemption, and to assess all such lands on the land assessment roll, separately from other lands, as required by this article; and to present to the board all proper and necessary notices for the correction of land descriptions on the roll, changes in ownership, and for increases and decreases in the assessments of exempt homes.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.