AUGUSTA – The homestead tax exemption claimed by Ann LePage for a property in Florida has been deemed legal, according to a letter from the Volusia County property tax appraiser released Monday.

Ann LePage is the wife of Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage, mayor of Waterville.

A preliminary investigation by Morgan Gilreath, property tax appraiser for Volusia County, deemed that Ann LePage had been improperly granted the Florida property tax break in 2009, because she was already receiving a similar exemption in Maine. The tax breaks in both states are typically only granted to homeowners claiming the property as their primary residence.

But, as reported previously by MaineToday Media, Florida law has an exemption for homeowners receiving the credit in another state if the Florida residence is ‘the permanent residence of another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner.”

Gilreath had initially said in a letter to Ann LePage in September that there was no allegation on her Florida homestead application that this situation existed, so he called it a “moot point.”

Further investigation by Gilreath proved otherwise.

IRS forms from 2008 and 2009 that were provided to Gilreath by the LePages showed Ann LePage’s mother, Rita De Rosby, as a dependent.

When the issue of dual homestead exemptions was first brought up to Paul LePage, he cited his family’s role in caretaking of Ann LePage’s mother as the reason for the Florida house.

“My wife goes and cares for her and she comes back in the spring,” Paul LePage had said at the time. “It’s all about my mother-in-law’s health.”

 In his most recent letter to Ann LePage, Gilreath called the situation “unusual.”

“This issue has only arisen one other time that anyone here can recall,” he wrote.