Tax Exemption Programs
Oregon laws provide a property tax exemption for property owned or being purchased by certain qualifying organizations. The most common qualifying entities are: religious, fraternal, literary, benevolent,
or charitable organizations and scientific institutions.
Property for which an exemption is requested must be actively occupied and used by the organization in a way that furthers its stated purpose. The property must also be reasonably necessary. Any portion
of the property that does not meet these criteria is subject to assessment and taxation the same as all other taxable property.
Exemption is not automatic. An application must be filed with the Assessor between January 1 and April 1 for the tax year beginning July 1. Oregon does not have a homestead exemption.
Certain leased property, real and personal, may also qualify for exemption. The property tax exemptions explained in this circular are not automatic. The institution or organization claiming the exemption
must file an application with the county assessor.
Qualifying non-profit organizations may have their property taxes reduced or cancelled. Special assessments are not exempted. The most common qualifying entities are:
Property for which an exemption is requested must be actively occupied and used by the organization in a way that furthers its stated purpose. Any portion of the property that does not meet these criteria
is subject to assessment and taxation the same as all other taxable property.
To qualify for the property tax exemption, the religious organization must have a constitution, bylaws, or charter which states its mission and purpose. An individual cannot qualify. Any portion
of a property that is not used for religious purposes will not be exempt.
Property may include:
- Houses of public worship.
- Buildings used for administration, education, literary, benevolent, charitable, entertainment, and recreation
- Personal property.
- Pews and furniture used in the exempt buildings.
Schools, academies, and student housing owned or being purchased by a religious or charitable organization may qualify for a property tax exemption. A private school may qualify for exemption provided
the school is charitable.
Property must be used for accredited educational purposes.
A fraternal organization must be established under the lodge system with a ritualistic form of work and a representative form of government.
"Fraternal organizations" include but are not limited to: the Masons, the Knights of Pythias, the Knights of Columbus, and Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Fraternal Order Of Eagle,
the Loyal Order of Moose, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Oregon State Grange, the American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. College fraternities and sororities are not fraternal organizations
under this law.
A fraternal organization must provide financial support to a charitable activity with the purpose of doing good for others rather than for the convenience of its members, and is not solely a social club.
The property must be actively occupied and used for lodge work, entertainment, or recreational purposes. It is not exempt if it is rented to others for sums greater than reasonable expenses for heat,
lights, water, janitorial services, supplies, facility repair, and rehabilitation.
Literary, Benevolent, Charitable Organizations, and Scientific Institutions
The purpose and activity of these organizations or institutions is to provide charity. Generally, volunteers serve to further the goals of the organization.
Some components the assessor looks for are:
- Is charity the primary objective?
- Is the element of gift and giving present?
- Is the organization incorporated and organized as nonprofit?
- Is the charitable activity for the direct good or benefit of the community or public at large?
- Is the charitable activity relieving a government burden?
- Do patrons receive the same treatment regardless of ability to pay?
- Are the doors open to the rich and poor alike without discrimination as to race, color, or creed?
- Are donations accounted for separately?
- Does the organization benefit, profit, or provide private advantage to founders, officers, or members?
- How will assets of the corporation be distributed upon dissolution?
The county assessor examines the documents of each individual applicant and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
How to Claim the Exemption
Applications must be filed on or before April 1 of the assessment year for which the exemption is requested. All real and personal property must be identified on the application.
If use of the property changes, or if the property is acquired after March 1 and before July 1, the application may be filed within 30 days of acquisition or change of use.
If the application is not filed on time it may be filed no later than December 31 if a late filing fee of (1) $200 or (2) one-tenth of 1 percent of the assessed value of the property, whichever is greater,
accompanies the application.
It's not necessary to reapply each year. However, if ownership, occupancy, or use of the property changes or there is an addition / modification to structure, a new application must be filed. If a new
application is not filed, the exemption will terminate.
It is possible for a qualified organization to claim a property tax exemption on real or personal property held under a lease. The lessee must occupy and use the property and provisions of the lease
Example: A qualified organization acquires the use of property from a nonexempt property owner under a lease or lease-purchase agreement. The rent charged must reflect the savings that result from the
property tax exemption. The assessor must be satisfied that the rent is actually less than market rent charged for similar properties.
To claim the exemption the lessee, not the owner, must file an application with the County Assessor. All real or personal property must be identified on the application. Supplemental documents
such as information about the institution or organization, and a copy of the lease are also required.
Applications must be filed on or before April 1 of the assessment year for which the exemption is requested. If a lease is entered into after March 1 and before July 1, the claim must be filed within
30 days of entering the agreement.
If the application is not filed on time, it may be filed no later than December 31 if a late filing fee of (1) $200 or (2) one-tenth of 1 percent of the assessed value of the property, whichever is greater,
accompanies the application.
The exemption shall apply to the assessment year for which the claim is filed and shall continue so long as the lease is in effect and the ownership and use of the property remains unchanged.
A new application must be filed when a new lease, an extension of the current lease, or any modification to the existing lease occurs, or upon a change in ownership; use change; or new construction or
an addition to an existing structure. If a new application is not filed the exemption will terminate. If the lease ends before July 1, the exemption will terminate as of January 1 of the same year; unless
new lease is in place. Call the Assessor’s office at 541-440-4222 and press 1 and ask for the Exemption Specialist.
Veteran's Property Tax Exemption
If you are a 40% or more disabled veteran or surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be entitled to a Veteran’s property tax exemption. The filing period is between January
1 and April 1.
If you are a disabled veteran, or the surviving spouse of a veteran, you may be entitled to exempt a portion of your property taxes.
- Be a veteran who is officially certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or any branch of the United States armed forces as being 40% or more disabled
- Be a surviving spouse of a veteran who has not remarried.
- You must own and live on the property. Buyers with recorded contracts and life estate holders are considered owners. Temporary absences due to vacation, travel or illness do not disqualify
you from the program.
Amount of the Exemption:
- For 2012, the basic exemption for a disabled veteran or their surviving spouse is $17,910 of Assessed Value. The exemption for a service-connected disability is $21,500 of Assessed Value. These
amounts increase each year by 3%.
How to File:
- You need to file an application with our office by April 1st to secure the exemption for taxes due the following November 15th. Once qualified, you do not need to file an annual renewal.
- The exemption is applied to your current residence, and is not transferrable. If you move, or change the ownership record, you will need to file a new application.
- If you are a disabled veteran, but not certified by the armed forces, you will need to meet an income limit. For 2011, the income limit is a total gross income of $20,146 without dependents, $27,213
with one dependant, and increases by $7,067 for each additional dependent.
If you have questions or wish to file, you can contact our office at 541-440-6184 and ask for assistance with the Veteran's Tax Exemption.
Active Duty Military Exemption
Oregon property tax exemptions for qualifying active duty military personnel.
Oregon Law provides a residential property tax exemption for qualified military service members that exempts up to $76,006 for 2013 (increased by 3 percent annually, beginning July 1, each year) of the
assessed value of their home. To claim this exemption, qualified military service members should file an Oregon Active Duty Military Service Member’s Exemption Claim form along with the required
documentation. If the service member dies while performing the qualified service, the surviving spouse or domestic partner may file for the exemption.
The service member must be serving under Title 10 or deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. They must serve at least 179 consecutive days, with at least one day falling within the
tax year for which the exemption is claimed.
Or click here to download information circular and applications for the Veteran's Property Tax Exemption
Senior Citizens/Disabled Deferr
The Oregon Legislature set up two deferral programs that allow qualifying property owners to delay paying property taxes on their residences including manufactured homes, houseboats, multi-family, and
- For the Senior Citizens' Deferral, you must be 62 years old by April 15th the year you file.
- For the Disabled Citizens' Deferral, you must be receiving federal Social Security disability benefits on December 31 the year before you file.
For either deferral program
- You must have a recorded deed to the property or be buying the property under a recorded sales contract. Certain trust or trustee arrangements qualify for deferral. You would not be eligible
for deferral if you have a life estate interest in the property.
Changes to the program effective for 2011:
The poor economy and weak housing market forced the 2011 Oregon Legislature to make many changes to the property tax deferral program. These changes affect deferred property taxes the state pays
beginning in November 2011. Here are the 2011 legislative changes to the deferral program:
Your net worth limit is $500,000.
- Net worth is the total of the current market value of all of your assets minus any debts. It does not include the value of the home for which you're claiming property tax deferral, the cash
value of your life insurance policies, or tangible personal property (vehicles, furniture, appliances, clothing, etc.) that you own.
- Assets include:
- Real property (other than the property for deferral)
- Checking and savings accounts
- Other investments minus any debts
Annual household income cannot be more than $40,500. Household Income includes the income of all persons living in the home with you.
You must live in your home for at least five years before April 15 of the year in which you apply for the program, unless you had to live away from it for health reasons.
You must show proof of homeowner's insurance that covers fire and other casualties.
Real Market Value
The real market value (RMV) of your home cannot be more than 100 percent of the county median RMV, but there are graduated allowances based on additional years of occupancy.
Beginning in 2011, interest will be charged at 6% compound interest. Compound interest is calculated annually on the original principal (tax) amount and the interest that has accrued in all previous
years. Please see the example on the State’s website at: Deferral Info
To remain in the program, you must "re-certify" every two years. This means you must re-apply for the program every other year and meet all of the qualifications. If you do not
re-certify or qualify, the state will not pay your property taxes.
Properties with reverse mortgages do not qualify for the deferral program. The 2011 Legislature barred reverse mortgage properties from the program.
The State records a lien on your property
- The deferred taxes paid by the state become a first lien on your property, except for the liens of mortgages or trust deeds that were recorded first.
- The lien amount is an estimate of future taxes to be paid and interest to be charged, based on life expectancy tables.
- When the Oregon Department of Revenue has approved your application, you must tell your mortgage holder that the state will be paying your taxes.
Paying the deferred taxes
- The deferred taxes plus interest have to be paid when any of the following occurs:
- The taxpayer getting the deferral passes away leaving no surviving spouse
- You sell the property or in some way change the ownership
- You cease to permanently live on the property
How to File
- You need to file an application with our office between January 1st and April 15th to defer the taxes due the following November 15th.
- Income information is required when you file.
If you have questions or wish to file, you can contact our office at 541-440-4222 press #1 and ask for assistance with the Senior Tax Deferral. Or, download an Information Circular from
the State about the Senior Tax Deferral at http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/forms/FormsPubs/deferral-disabled-senior_490-015.pdf
To remain in the program, you must "re-certify" every two years. This means you must re-apply for the program and meet all of the qualifications and be approved. If
you don't re-certify or qualify, the state won't pay your property taxes.
The Oregon Department of Revenue will not pay any previously owed taxes, but the Douglas County Tax Collector will delay any foreclosure proceedings once the Oregon Department of Revenue has approved
the applicant and the applicant has applied for the Delay of Foreclosure. You may apply with the County Assessor's office. Both programs for property tax deferral must be paid back with interest
when the property changes ownership.
If you qualify, apply and are approved for one of these deferral programs, the Oregon Department of Revenue will pay your property taxes to the county of residence, beginning with the tax year for which
you apply and all subsequent years in which you qualify. A tax lien will be placed on your property. You will be charged lien recording fees, which are deferred. Interest on the deferred taxes,
at 6 percent compounded annually, is also deferred. The taxes paid by the state will need to be repaid, along with the deferred interest and fees, upon sale of the home or death of the applicant.