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Deadline approaches on homestead exemptions

POSTED: March 17, 2011 6:38 p.m.

The homestead of each resident of the state of Georgia actually occupied as a residence and homestead on Jan. 1 of the tax year may be exempted from certain Ad Valorem Taxation providing the exemption is returned and claimed in the manner prescribed by law and approved by the County Board of Assessors.

To qualify for homestead exemption, a person must own and actually occupy the home; the home is considered their legal residence for all purposes. Persons that are away from their home because of health reasons will not be denied homestead exemption; this includes living in a nursing home. A family member or friend can notify the Tax Assessors office and the homestead exemption will be granted provided the residence is not rented.

All exemptions, once approved by the Board of Tax Assessors, are automatically renewed each year unless your qualification changes. You do not have to reapply unless you move to another location. The current standard exemption is a $4,000 county and $2,000 school exemption.

When you reach age 65, Effingham County offers an additional $10,000 school exemption. To receive this additional exemption you must file an application with the Board of Tax Assessors by April 1 and have reached age 65 by Jan. 1 of the current tax year.

At age 62 the state offers additional exemptions that are income related. If you qualify you could receive an additional $10,000 school exemption and if you have reached age 65 an additional $2000 county exemption. A Senior Homestead Exemption Worksheet on the Tax Assessors website can be completed to see if you meet the income qualifications or the staff in the Tax Assessors office will assist you in completing the worksheet. The county Web site address is www.effinghamcounty.org/; under departments choose Tax Assessor.

Other special exemptions for qualifying taxpayers include totally disabled Wartime Veterans, the Surviving Spouse of a member of the armed forces killed in any war or armed conflict and the un-remarried spouse of a firefighter or peace office killed in the line of duty.

All exemptions must be filed with the Tax Assessors office between 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

April 1 is the deadline for filing homestead applications for the current year. April 1 is also the deadline for filing a property tax return, your estimation of value of your property, and Specialized Assessments such as Conservation Use Valuation covenants.

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