NARRAGANSETT – The town is now accepting applications for the 2020 homestead exemption, an annual tax break that allows full-time residents to save when paying property taxes, through Sunday, March 15. The exemption allows residents to take 10 percent off the assessed value of their homes. The exemption applies only to property which is a resident’s principle residence and legal domicile. Vacant land and rented or leased property does not qualify for a homestead exemption.
Adopted by the town council after much debate in February of 2017, a homestead exemption in Narragansett was also approved by the state legislature a year prior, a prerequisite to its local adoption, after advocates from the town began petitioning the general assembly for such in 2012.
According to town documents, the exemption will apply to property that is the resident taxpayer’s principle residence and legal domicile; and is legally titled to the resident taxpayer, a trust to which the resident taxpayer is the named beneficiary, or to a corporate entity owned and controlled by the resident taxpayer. Property used exclusively for residential purposes and improved with a dwelling containing less than five units, or used for a combination of residential and commercial purposes, will also be eligible.
“When real property is used for mixed purposes, the percentage of the assessed value shall be a prorated amount,” the local ordinance establishing the exemption reads. “The prorated amount shall be the percentage of square feet of the parcel used for residential purposes multiplied by the percentage of the homestead exemption.”
For the first time this year, residents who requested and were granted a homestead exemption last year will not have to file a new application and the exemption will remain in place for those individuals until a request to remove the tax break is received by the town.
“The exemption will remain in place until a request to remove the exemption, change in ownership/sale of property [occurs] or a change in your residency status [occurs],” a page on the town’s website reads advertising the exemption application period being open.
The tax assessor’s office will validate all homestead exemption applications. Knowingly submitting false information is highly discouraged by the town and is punishable by a fine.
“If the taxpayer knowingly gives misinformation as to the ownership and/or occupancy of the real property subject to the homestead exemption, the Tax Assessor shall, in such event, remove the homestead exemption and recalculate the tax for the period in question and, in addition, charge the taxpayer the maximum interest permitted by law,” the town ordinance reads.
According to Narragansett Tax Assessor David Dolce, 2,860 residents were granted exemptions last year, equating to a savings total of $1,444,377 town-wide. Some estimates have pegged Narragansett to have as many as 5,000 residents who would be eligible for an exemption, while other, more conservative figures place that number around 3,500 residents.
Those seeking an exemption may download the application online from the town’s website (narragansettri.gov/558/Homestead-Exemption), complete the form and return it in person to the tax assessor’s office at town hall or by mail no later than March 15. The application is brief and should only take about five to 10 minutes to fill out. In addition to a completed application, residents must also submit at least three of the following documents: a copy of voter registration (available online at vote.sos.ri.gov), a copy of state tax return (first page), a copy of federal tax return (also first page), copy of driver’s license and a copy of motor vehicle registration. If a resident taxpayer does not drive or own a motor vehicle, only two of five of the above documents are required to be eligible.
Questions or concerns can be directed to the Narragansett Tax Assessor office at (401) 789-1044 ext. 516 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.