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What is a Property Tax Exemption?
A Property Tax Exemption is the elimination of all or a portion of the property taxes for a property that is legally eligible for that type of tax reduction.
Under Minnesota law, all real property (except for tribal lands) is presumed taxable. Since taxation is the rule and exemption is the exception, it is up to the property owner to prove that their property qualifies for exemption under Minnesota Statute § 272.02. A property can only become tax-exempt after the owner's exemption application has been approved by the county assessor.
Which properties are eligible for a Property Tax Exemption?
To be eligible for exemption, a property needs to meet two criteria:
- It needs to be owned by a qualifying person or entity,
-- and --
- It needs to be used for a public, educational, religious, or charitable purpose.
Some of the most common tax-exempt property types are:
- Churches or places of worship
- Institutions of public charity
- All properties used exclusively for public purposes, including public hospitals, schools, burial grounds, etc.
- Certain kinds of personal property, including in most cases property that creates energy, enables commerce, or conserves nature
- Qualifying wetlands or native prairie lands
There are many other exempt property types also, besides those listed above. See Minnesota Statute § 272.02 for the longer list of exemptions.
When should I apply?
First-time applications should be filed as soon as possible after a property is acquired by a potential exempt organization. Qualified exempt organizations will need to acquire a property and use it for exempt purposes prior to July 1 of the current year in order for the property to be exempt from the next year's payable taxes.
The application review process can take one week to three months, depending on the complexity of the application.
How do I apply?
- Fill out an application and compile the required paperwork. You may download the Excel version of the application and fill it out on the computer (recommended), or print the PDF version and fill it out by hand.
Types of Exempt Applications (choose the one that best fits your organization):
Standard Application for Property Tax Exemption
): Please use this application if your organization is not
an Institution of Purely Public Charity. The Standard Application is typically used by, though not limited to, churches, government agencies, and educational facilities.
- You will also need the following documents:
- Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
- Certification from the IRS granting IRS Code 501(c)(3) status
- IRS Form 990 Return and other financial income and expense statements
- Property Deeds and Sale Documents
- Copies of tenant leases (if applicable)
- Any other relevant documents and records
Institutions of Purely Public Charity
): Please use this application if your organization is an Institution of Purely Public Charity (to help determine if your organization is a IPPC, or a non-profit as they are more commonly known, please see Minnesota Statute § 272.02
In addition to the documents that are required by organizations that file a Standard Application, Institutions of Purely Public Charity must also complete and submit a North Star Factors Survey
): Please use this application if your property is a Nursing Home (please see Minnesota Statute § 272.02
subd. 90 to help determine if you qualify as a Nursing Home).
Third Year Re-filing Requirement: If you are filing to satisfy the every-third-year re-filing requirement for a property that is already exempt, and the status of supportive documents filed with your initial application has not changed, then the only documents you need to send are:
- Your application
- The North Star Factors Survey
- The last three completed years of the IRS 990
Submitting your documents to the Assessor's Office:
The preferred method of submission is to e-mail the Excel or scanned PDF version of your application, along with the required documents, to:
-- OR --
You may submit your documents via mail (our mailing address is below). You may mail the printed versions of your application and required documents or a burned CD that contains your application and required documents. Our mailing address is:
Ramsey County Assessor's Office
ATTN: Exempt Application
P.O. Box 64097
St. Paul, MN 55164-0097
See the Frequently Asked Questions page.