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Property assessment appeals can be filed until April 1

POSTED: February 9, 2012 4:24 p.m.

Any Effingham County taxpayer who disagrees with the current value of their property can file a property tax return between Jan. 1 and April 1 with the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors.

In 2011 Senate Bill 346 became effective and all owners of real property, land and buildings, will receive an assessment notice every year regardless of whether a property tax return was filed or not filed.

Property owners can apply for homestead exemption year round; however the application must be filed by April 1, 2012 to be applied for the 2012 digest year. Any applications received after that date will be applied to 2013.

The taxpayer must own the land and building and live on the property on Jan. 1, 2012, to meet the requirements for filing for homestead exemption. The exemption is deducted from the 40 percent assessed value of the homestead which is reflected on your property tax bill. Only one homestead exemption may be granted for one immediate family group. An application is completed and filed with the Board of Tax Assessors which includes an oath that the statements in the application are true and correct. Annual applications are not required and the exemption will be applied until there is a change in the legal place of residence or additional age related applications are filed. The various types of homestead exemptions are briefly described:

Regular owner occupied with no age or income requirement may claim a $4,000 county and $2,000 school exemption.

Individuals 62 year of age and older may claim a $4,000 county and $10,000 school exemption. The exemption has income requirements for the school exemption.

Individuals 65 year of age and older may claim a $6,000 county and $20,000 school exemption. The exemption has income requirements.

The income requirements on exemptions provided for individuals age 62 and age 65 are based on the net income of the applicant and spouse not to exceed $10,000 for the immediate preceding year. In determining the eligibility of the applicant for tax year 2012, the maximum amount of retirement income, survivor or disability benefits under the federal Social Security Act or under any other public or private retirement, disability or pension system used is $60,312. Income exceeding the maximum, income from other sources such as rent and interest on investments must be $10,000 or less to meet the net income requirement.

Individuals 65 year of age and older may claim a 100 percent exemption applied to state taxes on their home and up to 10 contiguous acres with a $2,000 exemption applied to the balance of value, a $4,000 county and a $12,000 school exemption. This exemption has no income requirements.

Disabled veterans or their un-remarried surviving spouse, an un-remarried surviving spouse of veterans killed in any war or armed conflict, an un-remarried surviving spouse of a peace officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty may qualify for additional exemptions.

Owners of agricultural land, timberland and environmentally sensitive land may qualify for conservation use assessment. Appraisers in the Tax Assessors office can explain the special programs and help you with the application.

The deadline for filing for a special assessment is April 1. If you received a letter from the Board of Tax Assessors in the latter part of 2011 notifying you that your conservation use covenant would end on Dec. 31, 2011, you have until April 1, 2012 to file an application to keep your property in this special assessment program.

You can find the answer to some questions and view property information and parcel maps at: www.effinghamcounty.org. Forms are also available on the Web site.

If you have any question contact the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors office at 754-2125.

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