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Homestead exemption deadline near

Responding to an upcoming homestead exemption deadline couldmean hundreds of dollars off a property owner’s tax bill later thisyear, said Lincoln County Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordan.

“Tuesday will be the last day to file homestead exemption,”Jordan said. “Five p.m. will be the deadline.”

For citizens over age 65 or those who are considered 100 percentdisabled, a special homestead exemption means they would not payany taxes if their home and property value is valued at less than$75,000. If the property is valued more than that, they would paytaxes only on the amount over $75,000, Jordan said.

For other property owners, regular homestead exemption entitlesthem to a tax bill credit of up to $300, depending on the value oftheir land and home, Jordan said. Also, homestead exemptionproperty is assessed at 10 percent of its real value instead of 15percent like most other forms of property.

Jordan said Mississippi is a one-time filing state, meaningcitizens do not have to file for homestead exemption everyyear.

However, a new filing must be done if there has been a change inthe status of the property, Jordan said. Examples that would mean anew filing include additions or deletions to a person’s propertytotal, a change in marital status such as a divorce or a spousedies, or if a person turns 65 or becomes disabled on or before Jan.1, 2003.

“We have approximately 8,000 (homestead exemption) filings inthe county,” Jordan said. “Only about 500 will need to come in amake a change.”

Jordan estimated about 375 had come in to file a new homesteadexemption claim so far this year. She said it is important thateveryone who is eligible for homestead exemption come to her officeand file.

“We just need them to get them in here so we can try and savethem some money,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s office handles homestead exemption claims for both thecounty and the city. If a person has property inside the city orinside the city school district, the homestead exemption credit isdivided between the county and the city, she said.

In county property tax collections so far this year, Jordan said$3.36 million in real property taxes had been taken in and $1.73million had been collected on personal property. The personalproperty total includes taxes on public utilities, Jordan said.

Jordan said Tuesday is also the last day for businesses to filepersonal property renditions with her office. She said the filingshelp avoid a state-mandated 10 percent penalty if they are notsubmitted.

“It is to update their inventory and assets listings,” Jordansaid.

Jordan said 25 percent of businesses are visited each year tocheck actual inventories against what is submitted in therenditions. While her office can check at any time, Jordan said thestate does the follow up checks on only 25 percent every year.

“We cannot do the same 25 percent once but every four years,”Jordan said.