Sunday, August 31, 2014

Convict Not Banking on Yellow Ribbon - Homestead Exemption Maybe

Originally Published on on March 1st,2012
An attorney general opinion from Louisiana brought that song to mind.  It is running through my head right now, but perhaps you were not listening to the radio much in 1973:

Louisiana has a limited homestead exemption for real estate taxes.  The question for the AG was whether someone who was going to be away from his home for a really long time could continue to qualify.  The subject of the question was going to be a guest, if not an honored guest, of the State of Louisiana for 10 years.  Apparently he did not choose to transfer the old homestead to his significant other and bank on a yellow ribbon being there in a decade.  If I had been the official who sent the question up to the AG, I think I would have been a little disappointed with the AG’s answer:
In conclusion, the determination as to whether a property owner’shomestead exemption should be removed while he is incarcerated for ten years must be made in light of all the facts and circumstances. As we opined in Atty. Gen. Op. No. 96-99, the length of time an owner is away from his homestead is but one factor to be considered when determining whether a homestead is occupied for purposes of La. Const. art. VII, § 20(A)(2). 
We trust this adequately responds to your request. However, if our office can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Yours very truly, 
I have to sympathize with both “Buddy” and the local official.  The local official was probably hoping for a bright line test one year, two years, twenty years, whatever.  Instead the answer is that the length of the sentence is just one factor.  On the other hand, I often have to give answers like that to staff and clients.  “How many hours can somebody work for you before you have to treat them as employee ?” is a  question I have been asked and I ended up answering it like “Buddy” answered the how long a sentence question.  The client was frustrated and made up her own answer. I have since developed a new answer to any variation on the employee/independent contractorquestion – If you ask the question, the person is probably an employee.
The Yellow Ribbon
The yellow ribbon ended up becoming ubiquitous during the Iranian hostage crisis.  I always thought of it as just tracing back to the song about the returning convict, but it actually has a longer history, which should have occurred to me given that John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogyconsists of three of my favorite movies.  Here is the older yellow ribbon song:

You will have to go to youtube for any of the versions from the movie as they have disabled embedding for them.  I hate when that happens.

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