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Important property tax notice

This will affect the amount of property tax paid in 2013, and may affect eligibility for a property tax refund

Property owners in Stearns County that need a homestead classification have until Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, to file the application. Contact the County Assessor at (320) 656-3680, or stop in their office to file a homestead application if one of the following applies:

• A property was purchased in the past year and the owner, or a qualifying relative, occupy the property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1, 2012; or

• The property owner or a qualifying relative occupies a property for homestead purposes on

Dec. 1, 2012, and the property was previously classified as non-homestead.

A qualifying relative for homestead purposes depends on the type of property. For residential property it can be a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the owner. This relationship may be by blood or marriage. For agricultural property, a qualifying relative can be a child, grandchild, sibling or parent of the owner, or of the spouse of the owner.

The Stearns County Assessor must also be contacted by Dec. 17, 2012, by the property owner or a qualifying relative of the property owner if the use of the property has changed during the past year.

If the property owner should sell, move, or for any reason no longer qualify for the homestead classification, they are required to notify the county assessor within 30 days of the change in homestead status. Failure to notify the County Assessor within this 30-day period is punishable by recalculation of tax as non-homestead, in addition to a penalty equal to 100 percent of the homestead benefits.