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Introduced Version House Bill 3268 History

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HB ORIG 1 LINE

H. B. 3268

 

(By Delegates Williams, Mahan, Marshall, Stowers, Iaquinta, D. Poling, Phillips, Manchin, Reynolds, Guthrie and Walters)

 

(Originating in the Committee on Finance)

 

[February 23, 2011]

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §11-6B-2 of the Code of West Virignia, 1931, as amended, and to reenact §11-6B-4 of said code, all relating to who may claim a homestead exemption for purposes of ad valorem property taxes and providing that surviving spouse of a claimant must refile to retain the homestead exemption after the death of a claimant.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §11-6B-2 of the code of West Virginia,1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §11-6B-4 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 11. TAXATION.

ARTICLE 6B. HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION.

§11-6B-2. Definitions.

    For purposes of this article, the term:

    (1) "Assessed value" means the value of property as determined under article three of this chapter.

    (2) "Claimant" means a person who is age sixty-five or older or who is certified as being permanently and totally disabled, and who owns a homestead that is used and occupied by the owner thereof exclusively for residential purposes: Provided, That: (1) If the property was most recently used and occupied by the owner or the owner’s spouse thereof exclusively for residential purposes; (2)the owner, as a result of illness, accident or infirmity, is residing with a family member or is a resident of a nursing home, personal care home, rehabilitation center or similar facility; and (3) the property is retained by the owner for noncommercial purposes, then the owner of that property may continue to claim a homestead property tax exemption on the property. : Provided, however, That if the property was most recently used exclusively for residential purposes and occupied by the owner or the owner’s spouse as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and the claimant dies, leaving the surviving spouse who is not sixty-five years of age or permanently and totally disabled with rightful ownership, the surviving spouse may retain the homestead exemption as the claimant so long as the spouse occupies the property as his or her residence and the property is exclusively used for residential purposes.

    (3) “Family member” means a person who is related by common ancestry, adoption or marriage including, but not limited to, persons related by lineal and collateral consanguinity.

    (4) "Homestead" means a single family residential house, including a mobile or manufactured or modular home, and the land surrounding such structure; or a mobile or manufactured or modular home regardless of whether the land upon which such mobile or manufactured or modular home is situated is owned or leased.

    (5) "Owner" means the person who is possessed of the homestead, whether in fee or for life. A person seized or entitled in fee subject to a mortgage or deed of trust shall be considered the owner. A person who has an equitable estate of freehold, or is a purchaser of a freehold estate who is in possession before transfer of legal title shall also be considered the owner. Personal property mortgaged or pledged shall, for the purpose of taxation, be considered the property of the party in possession.

    (6) "Permanently and totally disabled" means a person who is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental condition which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.

    (7) "Sixty-five years of age or older" includes a person who attains the age of sixty-five on or before June 30 following the July first assessment day.

    (8) "Used and occupied exclusively for residential purposes" means that the property is used as an abode, dwelling or habitat for more than six consecutive months of the calendar year prior to the date of application by the owner thereof; and that the property is used only as an abode, dwelling or habitat to the exclusion of any commercial use: Provided, That failure to satisfy this six-month period shall not prevent allowance of a homestead exemption to a former resident in accordance with section three of this article.

    (9) "Tax year" means the calendar year following the July first assessment day.

    (10) "Resident of this state" means an individual who is domiciled in this state for more than six months of the calendar year.

§11-6B-4. Claim for exemption; renewals; waiver of exemption.

    (a) General. -- No exemption shall be allowed under this article unless a claim of exemption is filed with the assessor of the county in which the homestead is located, on or before December 1, following the July first 1 assessment day. In the case of sickness, absence or other disability of the claimant, the claim may be filed by the claimant or his or her duly authorized agent.

    (b) Claims for disability exemption. -- Each claim for exemption based on the owner being permanently and totally disabled shall include one of the following forms of documentation in support of said claim: (1) A written certification by a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy licensed to practice their particular profession in this state that the claimant is permanently and totally disabled; (2) a written certification by the social security administration that the claimant is currently receiving benefits for permanent and total disability; (3) a copy of the letter from the social security administration originally awarding benefits to the claimant for permanent and total disability and a copy of a current check for such benefits, marked void; (4) a current social security health insurance (Medicare) card in the name of the claimant and a copy of a current check to the claimant, marked void, for benefits from the social security administration for permanent and total disability; (5) a written certification signed by the veterans administration certifying that a person is totally and permanently disabled; (6) any lawfully recognized workers' compensation documentation certifying that a person is totally and permanently disabled; (7) any lawfully recognized pneumoconiosis documentation certifying that a person is totally and permanently disabled; or (8) any other lawfully recognized documentation certifying that a person is totally and permanently disabled.

    (c) Renewals.

    (1) Senior citizens. -- If the claimant is age sixty-five or older, then after the claimant has filed for the exemption once with his or her assessor, there shall be no need for that claimant to refile unless the claimant moves to a new homestead.

    (2) Disabled. -- If the claimant is permanently and totally disabled, then after the claimant has filed for the exemption once with his or her assessor, and signed a statement certifying that he or she will notify the assessor if he or she is no longer eligible for an exemption on the basis of being permanently and totally disabled and that the claimant will notify the assessor within thirty days of the discontinuance of the receipt of benefits for permanent and total disability, if the claimant originally claimed receipt of said benefits to document his or her claim for exemption, there shall be no need for that claimant to refile, unless the claimant moves to a new homestead.

    (3) Waiver of exemption. -- Any person not filing his or her claim for exemption on or before December 1, shall be determined to have waived his or her right to exemption for the next tax year.

    (4) Residential care exception. –- For purposes of this section, an otherwise qualified claimant who, as a result of illness, accident or infirmity, resides with a family member or is a resident at a nursing home, personal care home, rehabilitation center or similar facility is not considered to have moved to a new homestead.

    (5) Death of claimant with a surviving spouse –- For purposes of this section, if the property is owned by a husband and wife as joint tenants with the right of survivorship and the claimant dies leaving a spouse who is under sixty-five years of age and not totally and permanently disabled, the surviving spouse is entitled to retain the exemption from ad valorem property taxation provided in section three of this article for as long as such surviving spouse occupies the property as his or her residence and the property is exclusively used for residential purposes. The surviving spouse must refile, with a death certificate of the claimant, for the exemption pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) in this section on or before December 1. When the surviving spouse has filed for the exemption once with his or her assessor, there shall be no need to refile as long as the homestead is being used exclusively for residential purposes and the spouse occupies the property as his or her residence.

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