Homestead Exemption ExplainedBy BRITTNEY MANGUM,
Who wouldn’t want to have up to $300 taken off property taxes each year?
Although it sounds crazy that anyone would give up a chance to have property taxes lowered, many people don’t understand how to make that happen. The answer is quite simple: homestead exemption. Homestead exemption is available to all home owners and is only eligible for the residence the owners live at.
“Getting homestead exemption is a privilege, not a right,” explained Hope Herrington. “It has to be applied for, and the application can be denied.”
The process of filing for homestead exemption is actually very easy. People are able to go to the courthouse to fill out the application for homestead exemption from January 2 until April 1 each year. The forms must be filled out and signed in the homestead exemption office at the courthouse, and the courthouse is willing to work with those who have disabilities.
“If someone is disabled, they will just need to call the office and let us know that they plan on filing and when they will be coming,” said Herrington. “We will have the paperwork filled out and carry it out to the vehicle for them to sign.”
The rates that are granted for homestead depends on the property value that is assessed. It is important for citizens to notify the courthouse of any changes that occur to properties that could affect the property value so that they will maintain accurate records between appraisal years. The courthouse must re-appraise properties to determine property taxes every four years; in fact, 2020 is a re-appraisal year, so properties will begin to be appraised for tax purposes.
Once a person has filed for homestead, that person doesn’t have to file again unless there is a major change in the family or property. It is extremely important to make sure that all information provided on the application is current, or it could cost later on.
“If you receive homestead that you did not qualify for, you can be reassessed and billed for the credit received,” warned Herrington. “That is called a charge back.”
For example, if a person is given temporary disability in January, the person is able to apply for disability homestead and may receive a credit of $300 a year. Once that first year is over, the person is removed from disability, but the person doesn’t refile for homestead the following January and instead continues to receive the $300 disability homestead for three more years. It is discovered that the person has received the $300 disability homestead that the person wasn’t eligible for for three years, so the person is then sent a bill for $900, which is the $300 for each year the person wasn’t eligible for that homestead.
Some homestead applications are denied for different reasons, including owing income taxes. If a person is denied because of taxes or sets up a payment plan with the state, then the person should reapply for homestead the following January.
Homestead exemption is actually a great thing that is designed to help home owners. Anyone who is unsure of it they need to file for homestead should follow the following guidelines and make sure to meet the criteria for homestead exemption.
You need to file for homestead exemption if any of the following applies:
1. You have purchased or built a new home in 2019.
2. Your spouse has passed away in 2019.
3. You or your spouse turned 65 years of age or qualified for disability in 2019.
4. You have filed a new deed reserving a life estate, trust, etc. or changed the title to your land in 2019.
5. You have changed marital status (married or divorced) in 2019.
6. You have changed the use of your home (rent your home or have/had a business in your home).
7. You bought or sold property in 2019.
8. Your homestead was denied last year.
9. You are a 100% (not including unemployability) service connected Disabled American Veteran (DAV) honorably discharged OR the un-remarried surviving spouse of such.
What are the criteria to be eligible for Homestead?
1. Be a legal resident of Mississippi.
2. Own and occupy the property as of January 1, 2020 (no rent or rent to own).
3. Purchase Mississippi license plates for all vehicles owned.
4. Comply with Mississippi income tax requirements.
What information is needed to apply for homestead?
1. Owner’s name and social security card
2. Spouse’s name and social security card
3. Name of previous owner
4. Value of property
5. Copy of deed
6. Tag numbers (current tags) of all automobiles owned
Anyone who meets the criteria needs to make sure to apply for homestead. With the 2020 reappraisals and property tax rates being evaluated, it is a great time to try and receive homestead exemption credit.