Property Tax Exemptions

Government Owned Property
Property that is both publicly owned and used for a public purpose is exempt from property taxation under the constitution. The property must meet both requirements before an exemption can be granted.


  • a. Municipal Buildings
  • b. Water treatment plants
  • c. Courthouses
Educational Institutions
To qualify for a property tax exemption under this classification an institution must:
  • a. Be non-profit
  • b. Have its funds used exclusively for education and
  • c. Be located within Kentucky
The Court of Appeals has defined an institution of education as a place where systematic instruction in any and all useful branches of learning is given by methods common in schools and institutions of learning. The education exemption extends to any income producing property that may be owned by the institution provided the income is used to further its educational programs.

When an organization requests an exemption they need to request an application from the Property Valuation Office.


In 1990 legislative session, the General Assembly developed a constitutional amendment which expanded the exemption that could be granted to church owned property. The specific language of the amendment, as approved by the voters of Kentucky in November 1990, is as follows:

  • Real property owned and occupied by, and personal property both tangible and intangible owned by institutions of religion.
  • House of regularly scheduled Worship Services
  • Land & improvements used for Church camps
  • Buildings used for meetings and social events aimed primarily at church members
  • Outdoor recreational areas held for use by church members
  • Parking lots or garages essential for the congregations use to attend worship services, even if the lot or garage is rented out during the week
The amendment now allows an exemption to be granted for all personal property owned by a church. This includes all motor vehicles, equipment and investments that are held in the church's name.

The key issue to determine if a church is occupying a parcel of land is the use of the property.

When an organization requests an exemption they need to request an application from the Property Valuation Office.

Other Exempt Properties

  • Purely Public Charities
  • : In order to be recognized as a purely public charity an institution must:
    • Be non-profit and
    • Be a public charity instead of a private charity
    The courts have defined a public charity as whatever is done or given for the relief of public burdens or for the advancement of the public good. Where the public is the beneficiary, the charity is public.


    • American Red Cross or subsidized low income housing project
    • Non-profit hospitals
    • Boy and Girl Scout Organizations
    • Non-profit rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol abusers or mentally retarded

  • Leasehold Interest: The 1990 General Assembly amended KRS 132.195 says that when exempt real or personal property is leased to a business conducted for profit and a leasehold interest exists, that interest should be assessed to the lessee.

  • Non-profit Cemeteries: Section 170 of the Constitution specifies that only places of burial not held for private or corporate profit are to be exempted. Any income producing property must be placed on the tax roll even if the income generated is used to maintain the cemetery.

When an organization requests an exemption they need to request an application from the Property Valuation Office.

Age / Disability Exemption

The Homestead Exemption (based on age or disability status) Allows taxpayers who are at least 65 years of age or who are totally disabled to receive an exemption.

The following requirements must be met in order to claim the homestead exemption:

  1. The taxpayer must both own and maintain the property as his or her personal residence as of January 1st;
  2. The taxpayer must have been classified as totally disabled under a program authorized or administered by an agency of the United States Government, or any retirement system either within or outside the state of Kentucky on January 1st for the year in which the application is made and maintain the disability classification through December 31st;
  3. The taxpayer must be receiving disability payments pursuant to that disability classification; and
  4. An application for the disability exemption must be made on an annual basis.

* The most common government agency under which a taxpayer can obtain a totally disabled classification is Social Security / SSI. Other programs include the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Veterans Administration and the Teacher's retirement System.

How to Apply

An application must be completed and filed in the Property Valuation Office along with documentation verifying age. Appropriate documentation might include Medicare cards issued by Social Security, birth certificates, and driver's license. When applying for the disability homestead, the same form will apply. However, documentation verifying total disability and that payments have been issued throughout the entire year must follow. Because of this, a taxpayer needs to provide proof of his or her disability status in the month of December.

Agricultural Exemption - Agricultural and Horticultural Land Use

The Kentucky Revised Statute 132.010 (9, 10, 11) defines agricultural land as any tract of land, including all income producing improvements of at least 10 contiguous acres in area used for the production of livestock, livestock products, poultry, poultry products and/or the growing of tobacco and/or crops including timber, or where devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payment pursuant agricultural programs and an agreement with the state or Federal government.

Defined as horticultural land is any tract of land, including all income producing improvements of at least 5 contiguous acres in an area commercially used for the cultivation of a garden, orchard, or the raising of fruit or nuts, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants.

Section 171 of the State Constitution mandates that the agriculture value be determined by the use value or income approach.

Taxpayers must notify the PVA of such land use.

Appeals Process for Real Property Assessments

Section 172 of the Constitution of Kentucky requires that all property be assessed for taxation at its fair cash value. The assessment date is January 1 of each year. Fair cash value is defined as the price a piece of property would bring with a voluntary sale and a willing buyer and seller.

When a value of real property changes from the previous year's assessment, the Property Valuation Administrator is required to send the property owner a notice of change. When property owners disagree with the new assessed value, the first step in the appeals process is to schedule a conference with the Property Valuation Administrator or Deputy.

A property owner must schedule a conference prior to the end of the tax roll inspection period. This affords the property owners the opportunity to review all assessments for the current year. The tax roll inspection period is normally scheduled to begin the first Monday in May and continue for 6 days per week for the next two weeks and ends the third Monday in May. Sometimes this schedule may be adjusted if reassessment work in a particular county requires extra time.

The reassessment notices are mailed out prior to the beginning of the inspection period, annually. If the property owner wishes to discuss the assessment they can schedule a conference as soon as possible after the notice is received.

At the conference, the PVA or a designated Deputy will explain how the new assessment was derived. All information used in the reassessment should be presented to the property owner. The property owner must be prepared to show evidence to support their opinion of the value of their property.

Examples are:

  1. Sales or assessment date from comparable properties.
  2. Income and expense statements for the past three years.
  3. Recent appraisals of the property.
  4. Original construction cost of additions and improvements.
  5. Insured value of the property.
  6. Asking price if it has been recently offered for sale.
It is desirable that the conference between the property owner and PVA be in person but sometimes that is not feasible. In a case like this a conference can be permitted by telephone.

Usually disagreements are resolved at these conferences by the property owner understanding more about the assessment process and accepting it or the PVA accepting the decrease due to documentation provided by the property owner or discovering an error in the PVA records. When a conference does not end in agreement, the property owner can file and assessment appeal with the County Clerk's office.

Taxpayers Rights
The Kentucky Revenue Cabinet (KRC) also has a Taxpayer Ombudsman's office which consists of the Ombudsman and a staff whose job is to serve as an advocate for taxpayers' rights. One of the main functions of the office is to ensure that your rights as a Kentucky taxpayer are protected by the KRC.

The Ombudsman's Office is your advocate and is there to make sure your rights are protected. If you think you are not being treated fairly or if you have a problem or complaint, please contact the Ombudsman's Office so they can help you.

The Ombudsman's Office may be contacted by telephone at (502) 564-7822 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM weekdays. From a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD), call (502) 564-3058. The mailing address is:

Office of the Taxpayer Ombudsman
P.O. Box 930
Frankfort, KY 40602-0930

Filing the Appeal
A written record is maintained by the PVA of each conference held. Upon completion of the conference with the PVA, a copy of the written summary results may be provided to the property owner. This copy is to be retained by the property owner and presented to the County Clerk showing that a conference was held with the PVA. After this presentation, an appeal is filed.

The property owner must obtain and complete an appeals form from the County Clerk's office in Carlisle County. The appeals form requires the property owner to provide general information about the property under appeal. Also required is confirmation that a conference was held with the PVA. The property owner must state his or her opinion of the fair cash value of the property and explain why it is too high. After completion, the property owner must then file the appeals form with the County Clerk's office. The County Clerk's office will schedule a hearing and notify all property owners when and where their appeal hearing will be held.

The last date to file an appeal is one working day after the close of the inspection period. For instance, if the inspection period closes on the third Monday of May, then all appeals must be filed in the Clerk's office by the close of business on the third Tuesday in May.

Appeals Hearing - Appearing Before the Local Board of Assessment Appeals
All real property assessment appeals are heard by a three-member panel known as the Local Board of Assessment Appeals. The Board is comprised of three local residents who are knowledgeable about real estate values in Carlisle County.

The hearings at the local level are informal. Property owners do not have to hire an attorney or professional representative; however, they can have representation if they desire to do so. Any compensated representative of a property owner must be an attorney, a certified real estate appraiser, a Kentucky licensed real estate broker, an employee of the taxpayer, or any other individual possessing a professional appraisal designation recognized by the Revenue Cabinet.

Also, the representative must present written authorization from the property owner which states the professional capacity of the representative and it must also state any personal interests the representative may have in the outcome of the appeal, including any contingency fee arrangements. If the representative is an attorney, any contingency fee DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DISCLOSED.

At the hearing, the PVA will present information in support of the assessment and the property owner must present factual evidence to support his or her claim of value.

A property owner can have a conference with the PVA without providing any documentation but an appeal will be denied if the taxpayer has been asked to present information by the PVA, Revenue Cabinet, or the board, and fails to do so.

A decision will not be made immediately by the board. The property owner will be notified by Certified Mail of the board's decision. If the property owner is dissatisfied with the local board's ruling, an appeal can then be filed at the State level with the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals (KBTA).

© 2009 by The Carlisle County Property Valuation Administrator &