Do you own a home? Do you live in it? Have you applied for homestead? You may be paying 50% higher taxes than necessary!!!
Homestead Exemption is a privilege offered to eligible taxpayers. The exemption is not granted automatically. An application must be filed and each taxpayer must qualify for the exemption.
Homestead exemption is a big break on ad valorem property taxes... it reduces the assessment from 15% of true or appraised value to 10%. So, if you haven't filed, you are paying 50% higher taxes than necessary... Also, you are eligible to receive up to an additional $300 deduction depending on the value of your property.
Homestead exemption can only be applied for during January through March of each year. There is also special homestead exemption for those over-65 and those who are legally disabled. These must be applied for during the following January through March time frame also. Only one owner has to be over-65 to qualify for the special homestead.
A complete list of Homestead requirements can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/y9olxnx
You may download a Homestead Exemption "Worksheet" at http://tinyurl.com/yal7j2z
In Mississippi you do not routinely have to reapply each year, but if there is ever a change in the property description or ownership, you must reapply. Also, in the event of a divorce, or separation you had better check with the Tax Assessor. Also, if you children take one of your cars to college and register it in another county, you could lose homestead.
Also, you lose homestead if you fail to pay State Income Tax!
A recent check of the tax rolls shows that many are not applying for homestead and losing huge amounts of money. In some neighborhoods, 3% have not applied and some have paid approximately $30,000 each in extra taxes over the years as a result. Some have owned the property over 11 years! Even if the difference with homestead is a savings of a $1,000 a year, it adds up over time. Depending on the true or appraised value, in some cases the differences between not having homestead are $3,000, $4,500, or more per year!
If a property owner is unsure of their status, in Madison County they can check on-line to confirm that homestead has been applied for by going to the Madison County Tax Assessor's web site or clicking http://tinyurl.com/MadCoLandRoll
If you find out that you have not applied for Homestead, you can visit the Tax Assessor's Office and request to be put on the 10% list to reduce current year taxes. However, you must return to the Tax Assessor to file for Homestead in the January to March timeframe. Normally, excess taxes previously paid are not refundable.
If you failed to file for homestead, or purchased a house since January 1, 2010, mark you calendar NOW to file for homestead next January!
All homeowner associations should include reminder in newsletters, fee statements, and welcome packets for new residents to file for homestead in the January through March time frame. And, realtors are encouraged to send reminders to clients.