LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -The tax bills are going out late this year in Calcasieu parish because the assessor is reexamining the value of people’s property--because of the hurricanes and the damage they did.
The amount a person pays in property taxes depends on what their property is worth. Homes severely damaged or destroyed have lost value until they are repaired or rebuild. So, Calcasieu Tax Assessor Wendy Aguillard explains they are in the process of adjusting the property values which will reduce taxes for many.
“We’ve come up with a program that we feel confident will give us the results that we feel we need to get not only for the property owners but also for the taxing districts because the taxing districts have to have funds coming in. And the property owners who have had damage need to see relief,” she said.
Those who want to provide more information and documentation to the assessor for a more accurate valuation can do so on the web.
“If you have some additional damage that was not covered under the original reduction, we want to make sure that you get that reduction so you’re not paying on a $200,000 home if it’s been gutted and having to be rebuil,.”said Aguillard.
After repairs, the properties will be re-evaluated to reflect the updated value. Aguillard says the property tax bills won’t go out until next year and that homeowners will not be subject to any penalties because of it.
“Once the notices go out the sheriff has to, by law, give everybody a certain amount of time, I believe it’s 45 days, to pay their notice without penalty. So, if we can get everything completed and the notices go out, say mid-January, then they would have time to pay it before it would be delinquent,” she said.
In Louisiana, the first $75,000 of a home’s value is exempt from property taxes, but it has to be a primary residence. Aguillard says people not living in their house temporarily can go online to request continuation of their exemption.
“We do have a form on the web site that lets us know that you are wanting to continue your homestead even though you’re not living in your home and it does give you an opportunity for you to change your mailing address for us. so, that’s real important for us to have those changes in mailing address,” said Aguillard.