Minnesota property owners have an important upcoming deadline!  

December 1, 2018, is the last day to own and occupy property to qualify for the homestead tax exemption for the current assessment year. Read on to learn how Minnesota’s Homestead Tax Exemption impacts property owners.


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Homestead Defined

If you watch reality TV you’re familiar with those hardy people in Alaska who’ve made a life conquering land most of us wouldn’t be brave enough to visit much less live on. Fascinating stories for those chilly Minnesota nights when all you want to is drink hot chocolate, bundle up in a blanket, and watch an entire season of Below Zero or Alaska The Last Frontier.

For Minnesotans, homestead has nothing to do with living off the grid.

Homestead is a classification of property that is occupied by an owner or relative of the owner and is used as a primary place of residence. The State of Minnesota maintains the homestead program for residents who own and occupy their home or have a qualifying resident who occupies the home called the Homestead Market Value Exclusion. If you’re a qualifying property owner you have benefits under this program.

First, you can enjoy a  reduction in the taxable market value of the property (for properties valued under $414,000 only). As a result, your taxes may be lowered.

Second, you may qualify for the State of Minnesota Property Tax Refund.

How Do I Qualify?

The state has a list of guidelines to help homeowners figure out if they qualify for the exemption and/or the refund.

  • You must own the property, or be a relative or in-law of the owner (son, daughter, parent, grandchild, grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew).
  • You or your relative must occupy the property as the primary place of residence.
  • You must be a Minnesota resident. If the occupant is a relative of the owner, the owner does not have to be a Minnesota resident.
  • You must file a Certificate of Real Estate Value for homestead status to be granted.
  • You can receive homestead status for more than one property if a relative uses a second home owned by you as their primary residence.

How Do I Apply?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the state could intuitively know that you’re a resident who qualifies for tax exemptions and refunds? Unfortunately, even if the state suspects that you might be eligible to get money back, they won’t arrive at your door with a check like the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Team. Hint: Even those winners had to fill out paperwork.

Before you apply take a few minutes and gather some required documents. If you purchased your property within the last three months, you’ll need a copy of your ownership deed. You may need a copy of your Certificate of Real Estate Value. If you don’t occupy the property but have a relative who does, there’s a special form you’ll need to submit with your application. Your application is submitted to your County Assessor’s office.

The good news? You only need to apply one time for each qualifying property you own.

Can I Get a Refund?

Who doesn’t get excited about a refund from the state?

The State of Minnesota administers two property tax refund programs for homesteaded properties. You may be eligible for one or both of these refunds.

The regular property tax refund is based on household income and the dollar amount of property tax you pay on your principal residence.

The special property tax refund is for owners who had an increase in their net property tax. The increase has to be at least 12 percent and at least $100. This refund is not based on income.

It can be confusing to figure out if you qualify and which program you qualify for, so instead of getting frustrated, or wasting time gathering the wrong forms and other paperwork, contact your county. They deal with homestead questions all the time and are happy to explain the program and help you figure out how to apply.

We’d love to hear your comments or questions below. Stay tuned for our next post on staging your home for fall listings.

*The content of this posts was copied or adapted from the Minnesota Department of Revenue Property Tax Fact Sheet 10.