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Now time to file homestead exemption

Lincoln County Tax Assessor Nancy Jordan said county residentshave until the end of the month to file or update their homesteadexemption tax status for 2008 or to pay business personal propertyrenditions for 2007.

Jordan said missing the deadline could result in fines or theloss of discounts.

“Any change in homestead status requires you to come in so youdo not lose the exemption later when the change is discovered,” shesaid.

Homestead exemption allows homeowners to claim a significant taxdiscount on personal land upon which they actually live, Jordansaid.

Reasons why people would need to refile include turning 65 yearsof age or being declared 100 percent disabled in 2007. Otherreasons include such life changes as the construction of a newhome, a physical change of address, the sale or purchase ofexempted property, a marital status change or filing a deed in thepast year on the exempted property.

Homestead filing continues through April 1, Jordan said. Shesaid there are also measures for new home owners, as well asothers, who might qualify for exemptions.

“If you have a new home and have never filed, go to the taxassessor’s office,” she said. “But the state Tax Commissionrequires all of the above on the application. And if you haven’thad a change you don’t have to come in.”

Residents filing homestead exemption for 2007 should bring proofof the full name of them and their spouse, both Social Securitynumbers, the 911 address of the property, who sold the property tothem, how much they paid for the land and home combined, how muchthey paid down, their interest rate if the home is mortgaged, thevehicle tag numbers of all family vehicles, and proof of disabilityor age if over 65.

“Filing for homestead exemption is quick and easy if they comeprepared,” Jordan said.

If that is the case, the whole process can take as little asfive minutes, Jordan said. There is no fee to file or to makechanges to an existing exemption.

The process for businesses to fill out, sign and return personalproperty renditions, which assesses businesses’ private propertyfor tax purposes, is also quick, she said.

“A rendition is where you render your inventory or any changesyou’ve had in your business furniture and fixtures,” said Jordan.”This saves them 10 percent on their taxes and that compounds everyyear, so they’ll save 20 percent next year and so on.”

Jordan said those savings are not a discount, they’re actually apenalty business owners don’t have to pay if they get theirrenditions in on time.

“Just taking a few moments now to fill out the forms could savebusinesses a lot of money in the future,” Jordan said.

If personal property renditions are not returned, theMississippi State Tax Commission requires a 10 percent penalty thatis compounded annually for each year it is not returned, shesaid.

Jordan reminded taxpayers that the deadline for paying taxes onmobile homes was February 1, and that they are penalized 1 percentfor every month past the deadline they wait to pay it. She said,however, that if a mobile home is on land they own and they areresiding in it, they can file a homestead exemption on it.

Jordan said in order to make filing for homestead exemption orpaying taxes easier for all involved, she encouraged taxpayers tocome to the tax office before or after the lunch hour, as theoffice tends to fill up during that time. She said the busiest timeis between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“It’s less busy when the employees are not taking lunch,” shesaid. “Try to come before or after those times, and you’re morelikely to get in and out much faster.”