Act 2013-295 of the 2013 Regular Session
On May 21, 2013 Governor Bentley signed HB19 into law as Act2013-295 (the”2013 Homestead Exemption Act”) relating to homestead exemptions and exemptions on principal residences effectively repealing most of Act2012-313 (the “2012 Homestead Exemption Act”).
The 2013 Act’s Specific Changes
Section 40-9-19(d) $5,000 Exemption Based on State Income:
The 2013 Act restores the language of Section 40-9-19(d) providing a homestead exemption (not to exceed $5,000 of assessed value) for residents of this state, over 65 years of age, who have an annual adjusted gross income of less than $12,000 as reflected on the most recent State Income Tax Return or some appropriate evidence, OR who are retired due to permanent and total disability (regardless of age), OR who are blind (regardless of age or whether such person is retired).
Section 40-9-21 Complete Exemption for those Over 65 or Disabled
The 2013 Act amends Section 40-9-21 and provides a total exemption form ad valorem taxes on the principal residence and 160 acres adjacent thereto of any resident of this state who is 65 years of age or older, provided the net annual taxable income for the person claiming the exemption and that of his or her spouse is $12,000 or less, as shown on such person’s and spouse’s latest United States Income Tax Return or some other appropriate evidence… OR who is permanently and totally disabled regardless of income or age. The 2013 Act’s revisions to Section 40-9-21 removed the income threshold from the exemption for the disabled so that now only those persons claiming the exemption based on being 65 years of age or older are required to meet th income limitation. Any taxpayer who lost the exemption due to income threshold, who previously had the exemption granted under the provisions of Title 40-9-21 based on the taxpayer’s permanent and total disability, and who was still the owner and principal resident of the property on October 1, 2012, should have the exemption reinstated without the necessity of additional documentation. But this automatic reinstatement of the exemption should only be made when the tax official can reasonably conclude, based on existing records, that the taxpayer and property should maintain the exemption for the 2012 tax year.
Documenting Disabled Status
The 2013 Act provides that going forward, those persons seeking exemption based on disability status who are not drawing a disability pension or annuity form the armed services, a private company or any governmental agency, may establish their disability status by providing proof of such permanent and total disability by submitting written affidavits by any two physicians licensed to practice in this state, provided that at least one of the physicians is actively providing treatment directly related to the permanent and total disability of the person seeking the exemption. The requirement that at least one of the physicians be actively providing treatment applies to any person applying for the first time after the passage of the 2013 Act. Any person who qualified to receive the exemption prior to the effective date of the 2013 Act by submitting written certification by two physicians licensed to practice in this state will continue to receive the exemption based on the two physicians’ letters already provide and shall not be required to resubmit any physicals’ letters.
Mandatory Liability Insurance Law
OIVS (Online Insurance Verification System)
The Alabama Mandatory Liability Insurance Law provides that no person shall operate, register or maintain registration of a motor vehicle designed to be used on a public road or highway unless it is covered by a liability insurance policy. The law was passed to protect consumers when they are involved in an accident.
Beginning January 1, 2013, license plate issuing officials will attempt to verify liability insurance utilizing the State of Alabama Online Verification System, which will allow license plate issuing officials to immediately verify the insurance status of a vehicle at any point in time.
If insurance cannot be verified through the Online Insurance Verification System, vehicle owners must provide evidence of insurance to the license plate issuing official. The insurance card is the most common evidence of current insurance. To be acceptable, the proof of insurance must display the current effective date, insurer’s NAIC number, vehicle identification number (VIN) and policy number.
In addition to providing evidence of insurance, a valid state issued driver license, non-driver identification card, or national drive license must be provided for each owner reflected on the vehicle title. If the vehicle owner is a company, the federal employer identification number (FEIN) is required.
An owner or operator convicted of a mandatory liability insurance violation may be fined up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for the second or subsequent violation and/or a six month driver’s license suspension.
In addition to the above violation, if a vehicle is registered or operated without liability insurance, the vehicle registration will be subject to the following:
First violation - $200 reinstatement fee.
Second or subsequent violations- $400 reinstatement fee and a mandatory four month registration suspension.
ATTENTION DISABLED VEHICLE OWNERS:
2012 is a verification year for disability license plates and placards.
Vehicle owners already displaying disability license plates and placards may recertify during their renewal month by signing a new form in our office or you may download it in PDF format here:
New disability applicants must have this form completed and signed by their physician.
MANUFACTURED HOMES (MOBILE HOMES)
Alabama Title Applications for manufactured homes (as of January 1, 2010) will cost $23.00 each.
As of January 1, 2012 all manufactured homes not more than twenty model years old are required to have an Alabama Certificate of Title.