King asks revenue officials to honor property tax exemption

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Attorney General Troy King has asked call county revenue officials to honor requests for refunds for taxpayers who were entitled to claim ad valorem tax exemptions going back up to two years, but who failed to do so.

In a release on Dec. 27, King's office stated that a letter had been sent to officials which enclosed a 2002 Attorney General's opinion stating that Alabama law provides a two-year period for refunds of property taxes after overpayment due to any mistake, including if the taxpayer was not aware and did not request the exemption at the time.

Alabama state law provides exemptions regarding homesteads of state residents over age 65 based upon income, or those who are retired due to permanent and total disability, or to those who meet the legal definition of blindness. King issued an opinion on Oct. 25 to Alabama Revenue Commissioner G. Thomas Surtees that stated qualifying taxpayers should be given total - instead of proportionate - ad valorem tax exemptions. King's opinion in October clarified that the exemption applies wholly, for example, even if the property is owned jointly and only one spouse is disabled.

&#8220The citizens who are being denied these refunds are often on small, fixed incomes and unable to shoulder the burden of paying taxes they did not owe,” stated King. &#8220We, as government officials, have a duty to ensure that our elderly, disabled and blind citizens are not charged more than the law obligated them to pay.”

King alerted revenue officials who may have been unaware of the law to an Attorney General's opinion sent on July 2, 2002, to Marshall County Tax Assessor Bryan Waldrop. Code of Alabama Section 40-10-160 states that &#8220any taxpayer who through any mistakeŠhas paid taxes that were not due upon the property of said taxpayer shall be entitled, upon making proof of such payment to the satisfaction of the Comptroller, to have such taxes refunded to him if application shall be madeŠwithin two years from the date of such payment.”

Ad valorem tax exemptions are not automatically applied, but must be requested by the taxpayer.

Questions concerning exemption status or if you are entitled to a refund can be answered at the Butler County Tax Assessor's office at 382-3231.