According to the Washington County Website:
Property owners in Washington County whose property is newly-eligible for homestead classification because of a change should contact a county assessor to file a homestead application on or before Dec. 15.
Homestead classification will affect the amount of property tax paid in 2011, and it may affect eligibility for a property tax refund.
Contact the county assessor to file a homestead application on or before Dec. 15 if one of the following applies:
• you purchased a property in the past year and you, or a qualifying relative, occupy the property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1, 2010; or
• you, or a qualifying relative occupy a property for homestead purposes on Dec. 1, 2010, and the property was previously classified as non-homestead.
A qualifying relative for homestead purposes depends on the type of property. For residential property, a qualifying relative 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 a child or grandchild, or sibling of the spouse of the owner.
Once property owners have been granted the homestead classification, no further applications are necessary unless they are specifically requested by the county assessor.
Property owners must also contact the assessor by Dec. 15, 2010, if they are the property owner, or a qualifying relative of the property owner, and the use of the property has changed during the past year.
If property owners 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.
For additional information or questions, call the Washington County Assessment Division at 651-430-6110.