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A homestead is defined by Louisiana law as a tract of land or two or more tracts of land even if the land is classified and assessed at use value with a residence on one tract and a field with or without timber on it, pasture or garden on the other tract or tracts, not exceeding (160) acres, buildings and appurtenances, whether rural or urban owned and occupied by any person or persons owning the property in indivision.

The following conditions must be met before a homestead exemption is allowed:

1.) the taxpayer must be a natural person(s) or a trust created by a natural person(s)
2.) the taxpayer must own the property
3.) the taxpayer must reside on the property he/she owns
4.) the affected tax must be state, parish or special ad valorem

If these conditions are met, the state allows one homestead exemption per landowner, exempting the homestead from state, parish and special ad valorem taxation to the extent of $7,500 of assessed valuation(or $75,000 of fair market value). Military veterans with either a service connected disability rating of 100% or a total unemployability rating by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs can qualify for a homestead exemption of $15,000 of assessed valuation (or $150,000 of fair market value). A homestead exemption does not however exempt the homeowner from ad valorem taxes levied by local municipalities.

Homestead exemptions are based upon conditions existing as of January 1st every year. For example, if an individual is building a new home and it is not complete as of January 1st, no homestead exemption shall be granted and only the land value shall be subject to ad valorem taxation.

Individuals who purchase a home may submit an application for homestead exemption up until December 31st of the year of acquisition. Individuals shall retain the homestead exemption indefinitely as long as the home remains their primary residence.

West Baton Rouge Parish offers a permanent homestead exemption, once you apply for the exemption you need not reapply annually. If however, you sell your property, you must reapply if you buy or build another residence.

The homestead exemption does extend to the following:

1.) surviving spouse
2.) surviving spouse as usufructuary
3.) testamentary trust established for the benefit of the surviving spouse and the descendants of the deceased spouse or surviving spouse
4.) trust when the principal beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust are the settlor or settlors of the trust and were the immediate prior owners of the homestead
5.) usufructuaries (no more than 2) who were the immediate prior owners of the homestead
6.) property owned in indivision, limited to the pro-rata ownership interest of the person(s) occupying the homestead
7.) residential lessees who own and occupy a residence, including mobile homes, but do not own the land upon which the residence is situated

The homestead exemption does not extend to the following:

1.) bond for deed purchases
2.) property owned by a partnership or corporation
3.) property held for commercial purposes
4.) the portion of income producing property not occupied by the owner as his/her primary residence
5.) purchase arrangements which do not transfer title, i.e., lease purchase agreements

Louisiana provides a special assessment, the Special Assessment Level, for certain qualified homeowners. The assessment, of residential property receiving a homestead exemption and owned and occupied by any person or persons who meet the conditions listed below, shall not increase above the total assessment of the property for the first year the owner qualifies for and receives the special assessment level. An eligible property owner shall apply for the special assessment level by filing a signed application with the West Baton Rouge Parish Assessor.

Conditions of the Special Assessment Level:

  1. any person or persons shall be prohibited from receiving the special assessment level if their adjusted gross income, as reported on their federal income tax return for the year prior to the application for special assessment, exceeds $75,594 for 2019 applications
  2. for persons applying for the special assessment whose filing status is married filing separately, adjusted gross income shall be the combined adjusted gross income from both federal income tax returns
  3. the qualifying dollar limit shall be adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index as reported by the U.S. Government

Persons who may qualify for the Special Assessment Level:

  1. persons who are 65 years of age or older
  2. persons who have a service-connected disability rating of 50% or more by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs
  3. members of the armed forces of the United States or the Louisiana National Guard who owned and last occupied such property who are killed in action, or who are missing in action or are a prisoner of war for a period exceeding 90 days
  4. any person or persons permanently totally disabled as determined by a final non-appealable judgement of a court or as certified by a state or federal administrative agency charged with the responsibility for making determinations regarding disability

The Special Assessment Level shall remain on the property as long as:

  1. the owner, or the owner’s surviving spouse who is 55 years of age or older or who has minor children, remains the owner of the property, and:
    a. the owner who has a service-connected disability of 50% or more, or that owner’s surviving spouse who is 45 years of age or older or who has minor children, remains the owner of the property
    b. the spouse of the owner who is killed in action remains the owner of the property
    c. the first day of the tax year following the tax year in which an owner who was missing in action or was a prisoner of war for a period exceeding 90 days is no longer missing in action or a prisoner of war
    d. even if the ownership interest of any surviving spouse or spouse of an owner missing in action as provided for in this subparagraph is an interest in usufruct
  2. the value of the property does not increase more than 25% because of construction or reconstruction

The Special Assessment Level on property that is sold shall automatically expire on the last day of December in the year prior to the year the property is sold. In such cases, the property shall be immediately revalued by the Assessor and placed on the next assessment roll at the revalued fair market value.

Louisiana identifies four types of land that shall be assessed for ad valorem tax purposes at ten percent of use value rather than fair market value:

1) Agricultural land – land devoted to the production for sale, in reasonable commercial quantities, of plants and animals, or their products, useful to man and agricultural land under a contract with a state or federal agency restricting its use for agricultural production

2.) Horticultural land – land devoted to the production for sale, in reasonable commercial quantities, of fruits, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants, and horticultural land under a contract with a state or federal agency restricting its use for horticultural production

3.) Marsh land – wet land other than agricultural, horticultural or timber land

4.) Timberland – land stocked by forest trees of any size and species, or formerly having such tree cover within the last three years and not currently developed or being used for non-forest purposes, and devoted to the production, in reasonable commercial quantities, of timber and timber products, and timberland under a contract with a state or federal agency restricting its use for timber production

In order to be classified as use value land, the following conditions must be met:

1.) the land must meet the definition(s) criteria per above

2.) the owner must file an application with the West Baton Rouge Parish Assessor certifying the land is eligible for use value assessment

3.) in the case of agricultural, horticultural and timberland, the land must be at least three acres in size or have an average gross annual income of at least $2,000 in one or more of the designated classifications for the four proceeding years

The Modern Soil Surveys published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Resources Conservation Service, shall be used for determining the use value classification of agricultural, horticultural and timberland.

This is Louisiana’s original incentive program for capital investments and is for manufacturing businesses only. It is administered by the Louisiana Economic Development Office(LED) and may be used by manufacturers new to Louisiana as well as new investments to facilities already operating in Louisiana.

With local approval the Industrial Tax Exemption Program provides up to a 100% property tax abatement for an initial term of up to five years and the option to renew for up to three additional years at up to 80% property tax abatement on a manufacturer’s qualifying capital investment related to the manufacturing process. The exemption applies to all improvements to the land, buildings, machinery, equipment and any other property associated with the manufacturing process. The exempted property must remain on the manufacturing site at all times. Upon expiration of the contract, the property becomes taxable at 15% of its then current market value.

Click here for more industrial tax information

Use the button above for more information or contact us by mail or phone:

Louisiana Economic Development
1051 N. Third St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5239
800.450.8115, 225.342.3000

The Restoration Tax Abatement (RTA) program is an economic development incentive created for use by municipalities and local governments to encourage expansion, restoration, improvement and development of existing commercial structures and owner occupied residences in Downtown Development Districts, Economic Development Districts or Historic Districts. The RTA program does not exempt the acquisition cost of the structure and only equipment which becomes an integral part of the structure can qualify for the exemption.

The RTA program allows for a five year deferral of the ad valorem taxes normally levied on renovations and improvements. The contract may be renewed for an additional five years if granted by the local governing authority. Commercial property owners and homeowners who expand, restore, improve or develop an existing structure in a qualifying district, after completion of the work, shall pay ad valorem taxes based on the assessed value of the property prior to the commencement of the improvements.

Click here for more restoration tax abatement information

Use the button above for more information or contact us by mail or phone:

Louisiana Economic Development
1051 N. Third St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5239
800.450.8115, 225.342.3000

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