Exempt Status

A property receiving a property tax exemption does not pay general property taxes. However, property exempt from the general property tax may be required to pay for special assessments and services or, under certain circumstances, may be required to pay a portion of the income from the property in lieu of the general property tax.


As a general rule, all property in the state of Minnesota is taxable, except tribal lands, unless the property is owned and used for a public purpose, education, or religious or charitable ministration.

The following is a partial list of the types of property that may qualify for a property tax exemption:
  • Public burying grounds
  • Public schools
  • Public hospitals
  • Academies, colleges, universities, and seminaries of learning
  • Churches, church property, and houses of worship
  • Institutions of purely public charity
  • Public property used exclusively for public purposes
  • Personal property used primarily for the abatement and control of air, water, and land pollution
  • Manure pits certified by the State
  • Electric power distribution lines
  • Transitional housing
  • Wind energy conversion systems
  • Waste water treatment systems operated by a municipality
For a complete list of properties that may qualify for a property tax exemption, refer to Minnesota Statute Chapter 272, Section 02.

Public Charity Qualifications

In a 1975 court case, Northstar Research Institute vs. County of Hennepin, the Minnesota Supreme Court established five factors that are often cited as guidelines for determining if an organization qualifies as an institution of purely public charity. These five factors have been expanded to six and have since been referred to as the Northstar Factors.
They are:
  • Whether the stated purpose of the undertaking is to be helpful to others without immediate expectation of material reward.
  • Whether the entity involved is supported by donations and gifts in whole or in part.
  • Whether the recipients of the “charity” are required to pay for the assistance received in whole or in part.
  • Whether the income received from gifts and donations and charges to users produces a profit to the charitable institution.
  • Whether the beneficiaries of the “charity” are restricted or unrestricted and, if restricted, whether the class of persons to whom the charity is made available is one having a reasonable relationship to the charitable objectives and,
  • Whether the dividends, in form or substance, or assets upon dissolution are available to private interest.
Please complete Northstar Factor Survey (PDF) when applying for exempt status.

Apply for Exemption

All owners applying for a property tax exemption must file an application for exemption with the Scott County Assessor.  Documents that may be requested are:
  • Application for Property Tax Exemption
  • Deed(s) to the property
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • A letter from the Internal Revenue Service granting tax exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)3
  • Income & Expense statements and IRS Form 990
  • Leases or other agreements for space used by individuals or other entities
  • A detailed written explanation of all current and intended uses of the property
  • Minnesota Department of Revenue Exempt Status
  • Proof of Charitable Contributions
  • Proof of Purely Public Charity Institutions
  • Other documents and records unique to a specific property