Revenue and Taxation, Kentucky Constitution

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The Revenue and Taxation article of the Kentucky Constitution has 16 sections.

Section 169

Text of Section 169:

The fiscal year shall commence on the first day of July in each year, unless otherwise provided by law.[1]

Section 170

Text of Section 170:

There shall be exempt from taxation public property used for public purposes; places of burial not held for private or corporate profit; real property owned and occupied by, and personal property both tangible and intangible owned by, institutions of religion; institutions of purely public charity, and institutions of education not used or employed for gain by any person or corporation, and the income of which is devoted solely to the cause of education, public libraries, their endowments, and the income of such property as is used exclusively for their maintenance; household goods of a person used in his home; crops grown in the year in which the assessment is made, and in the hands of the producer; and real property maintained as the permanent residence of the owner, who is sixty-five years of age or older, or is classified as totally disabled under a program authorized or administered by an agency of the United States government or by any retirement system either within or without the Commonwealth of Kentucky, provided the property owner received disability payments pursuant to such disability classification, has maintained such disability classification for the entirety of the particular taxation period, and has filed with the appropriate local assessor by December 31 of the taxation period, on forms provided therefore, a signed statement indicating continuing disability as provided herein made under penalty of perjury, up to the assessed valuation of sixty-five hundred dollars on said residence and contiguous real property, except for assessment for special benefits. The real property may be held by legal or equitable title, by the entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly by the stock ownership or membership representing the owner's or member's proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight years. The exemptions shall apply only to the value of the real property assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion which his interest in the corporation bears to the assessed value of the property. The General Assembly may authorize any incorporated city or town to exempt manufacturing establishments from municipal taxation, for a period not exceeding five years, as an inducement to their location. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 3, 172, and 174 of this Constitution to the contrary, the General Assembly may provide by law an exemption for all or any portion of the property tax for any class of personal property.[1]


Section 171

Text of Section 171:

The General Assembly shall provide by law an annual tax, which, with other resources, shall be sufficient to defray the estimated expenses of the Commonwealth for each fiscal year. Taxes shall be levied and collected for public purposes only and shall be uniform upon all property of the same class subject to taxation within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax; and all taxes shall be levied and collected by general laws.

The General Assembly shall have power to divide property into classes and to determine what class or classes of property shall be subject to local taxation. Bonds of the state and of counties, municipalities, taxing and school districts shall not be subject to taxation.

Any law passed or enacted by the General Assembly pursuant to the provisions of or under this amendment, or amended section of the Constitution, classifying property and providing a lower rate of taxation on personal property, tangible or intangible, than upon real estate shall be subject to the referendum power of the people, which is hereby declared to exist to apply only to this section, or amended section. The referendum may be demanded by the people against one or more items, sections, or parts of any act enacted pursuant to or under the power granted by this amendment, or amended section. The referendum petition shall be filed with the Secretary of State not more than four months after the final adjournment of the Legislative Assembly which passed the bill on which the referendum is demanded. The veto power of the Governor shall not extend to measures referred to the people under this section. All elections on measures referred to the people under this act shall be at the regular general election, except when the Legislative Assembly shall order a special election. Any measure referred to the people shall take effect and become a law when approved by the majority of the votes cast thereon, and not otherwise. The whole number of votes cast for the candidates for Governor at the regular election, last preceding the filing of any petition, shall be the basis upon which the legal voters necessary to sign such petition shall be counted. The power of the referendum shall be ordered by the Legislative Assembly at any time any acts or bills are enacted, pursuant to the power granted under this section or amended section, prior to the year of one thousand nine hundred and seventeen. After that time the power of the referendum may be ordered either by the petition signed by five percent of the legal voters or by the Legislative Assembly at the time said acts or bills are enacted. The General Assembly enacting the bill shall provide a way by which the act shall be submitted to the people. The filing of a referendum petition against one or more items, sections or parts of an act, shall not delay the remainder of that act from becoming operative.[1]


  • Amended with the approval of Amendment in 1915.

Section 172

Text of Section 172:

All property, not exempted from taxation by this Constitution, shall be assessed for taxation at its fair cash value, estimated at the price it would bring at a fair voluntary sale; and any officer, or other person authorized to assess values for taxation, who shall commit any willful error in the performance of his duty, shall be deemed guilty of misfeasance, and upon conviction thereof shall forfeit his office, and be otherwise punished as may be provided by law.[1]

Section 172A

Text of Section 172A:

Notwithstanding contrary provisions of Sections 171, 172, or 174 of this Constitution --

The General Assembly shall provide by general law for the assessment for ad valorem tax purposes of agricultural and horticultural land according to the land's value for agricultural or horticultural use. The General Assembly may provide that any change in land use from agricultural or horticultural to another use shall require the levy of an additional tax not to exceed the additional amount that would have been owing had the land been assessed under Section 172 of this Constitution for the current year and the two next preceding years.

The General Assembly may provide for reasonable differences in the rate of ad valorem taxation within different areas of the same taxing districts on that class of property which includes the surface of the land. Those differences shall relate directly to differences between nonrevenue-producing governmental services and benefits giving land urban character which are furnished in one or several areas in contrast to other areas of the taxing district.[1]


Section 172B

Text of Section 172B:

Notwithstanding contrary provisions of Sections 170, 171, 172, or 174 of this Constitution, the General Assembly may provide by general law that the governing bodies of county, municipal, and urban-county governments may declare property assessment or reassessment moratoriums for qualifying units of real property for the purpose of encouraging the repair, rehabilitation, or restoration of existing improvements thereon. Prior to the enactment of any property assessment or reassessment moratorium program, the General Assembly shall provide or direct the local governing authority to provide property qualification standards for participation in the program and a limitation on the duration of any assessment or reassessment moratorium. In no instance shall any such moratorium extend beyond five years for any particular unit of real property and improvements thereon.[1]


Section 173

Text of Section 173:

The receiving, directly or indirectly, by any officer of the Commonwealth, or of any county, city or town, or member or officer of the General Assembly, of any interest, profit or perquisites arising from the use or loan of public funds in his hands, or moneys to be raised through his agency for State, city, town, district, or county purposes shall be deemed a felony. Said offense shall be punished as may be prescribed by law, a part of which punishment shall be disqualification to hold office.[1]

Section 174

Text of Section 174:

All property, whether owned by natural persons or corporations, shall be taxed in proportion to its value, unless exempted by this Constitution; and all corporate property shall pay the same rate of taxation paid by individual property. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prevent the General Assembly from providing for taxation based on income, licenses or franchises.[1]

Section 175

Text of Section 175:

The power to tax property shall not be surrendered or suspended by any contract or grant to which the Commonwealth shall be a party.[1]

Section 176

Text of Section 176:

The Commonwealth shall not assume the debt of any county, municipal corporation or political subdivision of the State, unless such debt shall have been contracted to defend itself in time of war, to repel invasion or to suppress insurrection.[1]

Section 177

Text of Section 177:

The credit of the Commonwealth shall not be given, pledged or loaned to any individual, company, corporation or association, municipality, or political subdivision of the State; nor shall the Commonwealth become an owner or stockholder in, nor make donation to, any company, association or corporation; nor shall the Commonwealth construct a railroad or other highway.[1]

Section 178

Text of Section 178:

All laws authorizing the borrowing of money by and on behalf of the Commonwealth, county or other political subdivision of the State, shall specify the purpose for which the money is to be used, and the money so borrowed shall be used for no other purpose.[1]

Section 179

Text of Section 179:

The General Assembly shall not authorize any county or subdivision thereof, city, town or incorporated district, to become a stockholder in any company, association or corporation, or to obtain or appropriate money for, or to loan its credit to, any corporation, association or individual, except for the purpose of constructing or maintaining bridges, turnpike roads, or gravel roads: Provided, If any municipal corporation shall offer to the Commonwealth any property or money for locating or building a Capitol, and the Commonwealth accepts such offer, the corporation may comply with the offer.[1]

Section 180

Text of Section 180:

Every act enacted by the General Assembly, and every ordinance and resolution passed by any county, city, town or municipal board or local legislative body, levying a tax, shall specify distinctly the purpose for which said tax is levied, and no tax levied and collected for one purpose shall ever be devoted to another purpose.[1]


  • Amended with the approval of Amendment in 1996.

Section 181

Text of Section 181:

The General Assembly shall not impose taxes for the purposes of any county, city, town or other municipal corporation, but may, by general laws, confer on the proper authorities thereof, respectively, the power to assess and collect such taxes. The General Assembly may, by general laws only, provide for the payment of license fees on franchises, stock used for breeding purposes, the various trades, occupations and professions, or a special or excise tax; and may, by general laws, delegate the power to counties, towns, cities and other municipal corporations, to impose and collect license fees on stock used for breeding purposes, on franchises, trades, occupations and professions. And the General Assembly may, by general laws only, authorize cities or towns of any class to provide for taxation for municipal purposes on personal property, tangible and intangible, based on income, licenses or franchises, in lieu of an ad valorem tax thereon: Provided, Cities of the first class shall not be authorized to omit the imposition of an ad valorem tax on such property of any steam railroad, street railway, ferry, bridge, gas, water, heating, telephone, telegraph, electric light or electric power company.[1]


  • Amended with the approval of Amendment in 1902.

Section 182

Text of Section 182:

Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prevent the General Assembly from providing by law how railroads and railroad property shall be assessed and how taxes thereon shall be collected. And until otherwise provided, the present law on said subject shall remain in force.[1]

See also

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