Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homestead exemptions reduce taxes

The homestead exemption application deadline is fast approaching!  If you live at the property you own, you may qualify for up to seven homestead exemptions offered by the City of Decatur:

·        General homestead exemption:  Homeowners who reside at their home are eligible to apply online or in person.  In 2011, this exemption reduced property taxes for eligible homeowners by $233.60.

·        GS-1 exemption:  You qualify to apply if you were at least 62 as of Jan. 1, and your total household income does not exceed $25,000.  The GS-1 saved most eligible homeowners $1,629 each in 2011.

·        S-1 exemption:  You qualify to apply if you were 62 or older as of Jan. 1 and your household income does not exceed $10,000 excluding retirement.  Pensions and Social Security do not count toward income for this exemption, but income such as salary, wages, rental income, interest and dividends are included.  The S-1 saved most eligible homeowners $209 in 2011.

·        GH-2 exemption:  Owners were 65 as of Jan. 1 may file for the GH-2 regardless of income.  It can save homeowners about $12 a year.

·       S-3 exemption:  Owners who were age 70 as of Jan. 1 may file for the S-3 regardless of income.  It saved eligible homeowners up to $995 in 2011.

·        S-2 exemption:  To qualify for a 100 percent exemption from school taxes, the homeowner must have been over the age of 80 as of Jan. 1 and household income cannot exceed $40,000.  This includes any type of income.

·        Disabled veterans can qualify for an additional exemption if they reside at the property and have a 100 percent disability documented by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you have already applied for a homestead exemption, you do not need to re-apply.  If you filed for a homestead exemption with DeKalb, you must also apply with Decatur.  You must apply if you qualify for a new exemption based on age or income.

By law we can accept homestead exemption applications up until Apr. 1.  However, we are encouraging all eligible homeowners to apply this week for any new exemptions for 2012 to ensure your exemption appears on your 1st installment 2012 property tax bill which will be printed and mailed just prior to April 1.

For details on how homestead exemptions are calculated or to apply for the general homestead exemption online, please click here.  Applicants for all other exemptions must apply in person at Decatur City Hall, 509 N. McDonough St., Monday through Friday, 8 to 5.

Please apply today, and remind a neighbor, too!