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April 1 deadline for homeowners to seek exemption

Lincoln County officials are reminding home owners of animportant deadline that could save them several hundred dollars ontheir property tax bills later this year.

Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordan said April 1 is the deadlinefor homeowners to file for Homestead Exemption.

“We need to encourage people who’ve had a change in theirhomestead status to come in and file,” Jordan said.

Under state law, Jordan said those who filed for HomesteadExemption credit in 2003 are automatically renewed for 2004 unlessthere has been one of several changes involving the homeowner orthe property. Changes during the last year that would require ahomeowner to refile include:

* A change in marital status.

* The purchase or construction of a new home.

* If the homeowner or spouse turned 65.

* If the homeowner or spouse became 100 percent disabled.

* A change in the deed.

April 1 is also the deadline for first-time filers. Jordan saidnew filers should bring their copy of the deed, Social SecurityNumbers, the full cost of the home and down payment, all car tagnumbers and proof of age or disability.

For those who file for Homestead Exemption, their home isassessed at 10 percent of the true market value instead of at 15percent like other forms of property.

Jordan said the exemption can mean up to a $300 credit towardproperty tax bills that will go out in December. In some cases,that credit is divided between the city and the county.

“If they have property in the city of Brookhaven or theBrookhaven School District, half of it comes here,” said City TaxCollector Pat Duckworth.

Home owners who are 65 or older or who are 100 percent disabledare entitled to a special exemption on up to $75,000 in the valueof their property. In many cases, that makes them exempt frompaying taxes.

In another tax area, Jordan said April 1 is also the deadlinefor businesses to file renditions on their personal property.

The filing details any personal property-related changes, suchas additions or deletions, during the last year, Jordan said. Sheadded there is a 10 percent penalty per year for not filing.

“It saves them money to render it, also,” Jordan said.

Jordan’s office has been collecting current year property taxessince December. In that time, her office has taken in $3.87 millionin real property taxes and $1.98 million in personal property taxcollections.

“We’ve had good collections so far,” Jordan said.

Property on which taxes are not paid will go to the land salefor delinquent taxes in August.