Homestead Exemption: Remind Me What To Do Again

Written by Joel Gerber. Posted in Homestead Exemption

What if I bought my home in 2013 and the 2013 tax assessed value is less than what I paid?

For those of you who bought a primary residence in 2013 and paid more than the 2013 tax assessed value (assuming the building and the land have been given values) you want to file for your Homestead Exemption on or before March 31, 2014. By filing for Homestead, you (1) will receive a reduction of your home’s assessed value each year going forward and (2) you are locking in your home’s assessed value. This is a good thing because this “lock” will prevent your home’s assessed value from increasing over the years (as long as you do not apply for a building permit). Please note that the locked value (commonly known as your Stephens Day rate) does not apply to the school tax portion of your tax bill. You can file your Homestead Exemption by going to the appropriate tax assessor’s office (for the county in which your property is located). Call before you go there and confirm what items you may need to bring (i.e., a 2013 utility bill, etc.).

What if I bought my home in 2013 and the 2013 tax assessed value is more than what I paid?

For those of you who bought a primary residence in 2013 at a price lower than the 2013 tax assessed value, generally you should not file for the Homestead Exemption in 2014 (note, however, if the difference in the 2013 tax assessed value and what you paid for the home is small, you likely should go ahead and file). So why don’t I file yet? If you file your Homestead Exemption under these circumstances you will lock in your tax assessed value at an amount that is higher than what you paid for the property (not good). So what do I do? This year (in May), you should receive a valuation notice from the county tax assessor showing that the 2014 tax assessed value of your home is equal to the price you paid for the house. Assuming that is what the valuation notice shows, you should go ahead and file your Homestead Exemption before March 31, 2015 (see the paragraph above regarding the benefits of properly filing your Homestead Exemption at the right time). If for some reason the valuation notice you receive this year does not reflect the purchase price (as there are a few exceptions), the valuation notice will provide you instruction on how to appeal your home’s tax assessed value.

Please understand that the information provided above is general information and may not apply to your specific situation. If you have any questions along the way or would like to discuss this process in more detail, feel free contact me at (912) 484-1996 or anytime (even nights and weekends).

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