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Answers to common questions.

Answer

The duties of the Assessor’s office include identifying, listing and valuing all property for ad valorem taxation, according to the Constitution of the State of Louisiana and the Revised Statues that are passed by Legislature. Property consists of land, buildings, inventory, furniture and fixtures, machinery and equipment, oil and gas wells including equipment, lease lines, pipelines, stored natural gas and public service utilities. It is our mission to assess property in a fair and equitable manner for both taxpayers and the taxing districts of Bienville Parish.

The different governing bodies within the parish set the millage rates for the parish. These governing bodies include the Bienville Parish School Board, Police Jury, Sheriff, Library, Assessment District and Council on Aging. There are also additional millages set for the individual Fire Districts, Water Districts, Hospital Districts and Recreation Districts that depend on the location of the property.

The Bienville Parish Tax Collector, which is the Bienville Parish Sheriff, is responsible for sending tax bills and collecting taxes based on the assessments and the millage rates. The annual parish tax bills are sent out in November and are due by December 31 of that year.

Each municipality within the parish is responsible for sending tax bills and collecting taxes based on the assessments and the millage rates for that municipality. Each municipality sets their own millage rates.

Answer

The Homestead Exemption was created to help reduce the burden of taxes on homeowners. At this time, the Homestead Exemption is set at $75,000. This means that if your property is valued at $75,000 or less, and you are eligible for and apply for the exemption, you will have no parish taxes. All of your taxes would be exempted by the Homestead Exemption Law. The Louisiana Legislature must pass a law, and the voters of the entire state must pass the new law at the voting polls before the amount of Homestead Exemption can be increased or decreased. The Homestead Exemption only applies toward your parish taxes. There is no Homestead Exemption for city taxes in Bienville Parish.

To qualify for Homestead Exemption you must own the property and live on the property. We require you to come to our office on the first floor of the Bienville Parish courthouse to apply.

You may only have a Homestead Exemption on one residence at a time. If you purchase a new home, we must cancel your Homestead Exemption on your old home before we can allow you Homestead Exemption on your new home.

Owners and residents of mobile homes are also eligible for Homestead Exemption on their mobile homes. It is not necessary for you to own the land that your mobile home is situated on. Just come by our office with documention (bill of sale, insurance, etc.) to identify the mobile home by serial number, make, model, length and width dimensions.

The Homestead Exemption may be canceled under different circumstances. The most common reasons are a change in ownership and non-payment of parish and/or municipal taxes. Questions about why your Homestead Exemption was canceled should be directed to the Bienville Parish Assessor's Office. You may be required to re-apply for the Homestead Exemption.

Answer

The Louisiana Legislature passed a constitutional amendment which benefits:

  • Senior Citizens
  • Disabled Veterans
  • Permanently Disabled Homeowners
  • Widows of Armed Forces Killed in Action/Spouse of MIA or POW

This Constitutional admendment freezes the assessed value of the property owners Homestead Exempted property. It does not apply to any other property, except that property which you have under Homestead Exemption.

It will freeze the assessed value of the property and may save you from paying an increase in taxes over the years. It does not freeze the millage rate. If voters pass any new millage or increase in millage your taxes will go up accordingly. Likewise, if any millages in your area decrease or expire, your taxes would go down accordingly.

An eligilble owner will need to file only once for this special assessment level, by filing a signed application form with the assessors' office.

Please review the Special Assessment Level Freeze Flyer for information on how to qualify.

Answer

Millage is the rate that is used in calculating taxes. A mill is defined as 1/10 of 1 cent and is multiplied by the assessed value after any exemptions have been subtracted to calculate the taxes. For example: if the tax rate is 150 mills and total assessed value is $10,000 with no exemptions, the taxes would be calculated as $10,000 x .150 = $1,500.00. If, for the same house, you had a homestead exemption the taxes would be: $10,000 - $7,500(H.E.) = $2,500.00 x .150 = $375.00 in taxes. This demonstrates the importance of filing a homestead exemption.

Answer

Changes in millage rates can occur under these circumstances:

  1. If the voters approve a millage change.
  2. If the legislature approves the creation of a special district and grants authority to levy a millage.
  3. Every four years the Assessors must reassess real property. State law provides that the tax collected in the year following a reassessment is adjusted so that it is equal to the tax collected the previous year on the same property tax base. The amount of millage is then adjusted up or down by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office to satisfy this requirement. If the millage is lowered because of an increase in property values, it may be “rolled up” to the prior year's maximum millage after the taxing district complies with all applicable statutes and laws governing the millage levy process.
Answer

Louisiana Constitution, Article VII, Section 21, K(1) provides that in addition to the homestead exemption authorized under the provisions of Article VII, Section 20 of this constitution, which applies to the first seven thousand five hundred dollars of the assessed valuation of property, the next seven thousand five hundred dollars of the assessed valuation of property receiving the homestead exemption which is owned and occupied by a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of one hundred percent by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran with a service-connected disability rating of one hundred percent shall be eligible for this exemption if the surviving spouse occupies and remains the owner of the property, whether or not the exemption was in effect on the property prior to the death of the veteran. If property eligible for the exemption provided for in this paragraph has an assessed value in excess of fifteen thousand dollars, ad valorem property taxes shall apply to the assessment in excess of fifteen thousand dollars.

To be eligible for this additional Homestead Exemption, the Disabled Veteran must currently own and reside in the property for which the exemption is being applied, AND must have a service-connected disability rating of 100%, verified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. If a Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran is applying for the additional Homestead Exemption, they must currently own and reside in the property for which the additional exemption is being applied, AND the Disabled Veteran must have qualified for the additional exemption prior to their death.

To receive the additional Homestead Exemption you must meet the above qualifications and visit our office to apply.