(a) In addition to the persons and property exempt from ad valorem taxation as prescribed in Section 40-9-1, the following shall also be exempt from ad valorem taxation: The principal residence and 160 acres adjacent thereto of any person who is permanently and totally disabled or who is 65 years of age or older having a net annual taxable income of twelve thousand dollars ($12,000) or less, as shown on such person's and spouse's latest United States income tax return or some other appropriate evidence acceptable to the department. In the event that such person and spouse are not required to file a United States income tax return, then an affidavit indicating that the net taxable income of such person and spouse for the preceding taxable year was twelve thousand dollars ($12,000) or less shall be sufficient proof. Proof of age shall be furnished when the exemption provided herein is claimed. On and after May 22, 2013, if a permanently and totally disabled person does not qualify for the exemption under this section, and has not previously submitted written certification of such permanent and total disability by any two physicians licensed to practice in this state, he or she may submit as proof of permanent and total disability affidavits from two physicians licensed to practice in this state, provided that at least one of these physicians is actively providing treatment directly related to the permanent and total disability of the person seeking the exemption; provided, however, this requirement shall not apply to any person receiving the exemption on May 22, 2013. As provided under this section, any person who is drawing any pension or annuity from the armed services or a company or governmental agency because he or she is permanently and totally disabled shall automatically be granted a certificate of permanent and total disability by the department. In order to qualify for exemption under this section, the property must be a single-family home owned and occupied during the tax year as the principal residence of the person qualifying under this section.
(b) The department shall by rule establish the criteria and proof required for an exemption in this section based upon a person being "permanently and totally disabled" and shall issue certificates of disability to any person that meets such criteria and provides the required proof. The rule shall provide that any person who is drawing any pension or annuity from the armed services, a private company, or any governmental agency because he or she is permanently and totally disabled shall automatically be granted a certificate of permanent and total disability by the department.