Deadline nears for filing homestead exemption

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Homeowners have until Thursday afternoon to file homestead exemptions or face higher taxes until next year.
The Lee County Tax Assessor – and tax assessors throughout the state – will accept homestead exemption applications until 5 p.m. Thursday. Applications are available at the assessor’s office inside the Lee County Courthouse.
Most people don’t need to file exemptions, but those who had the following occur in 2009 should do so:
– Purchased a home.
– Turned 65.
– Became 100 percent disabled.
– Had a change in marital status or became widowed.
Filing a homestead exemption costs nothing. Instead, said Lee County Tax Assessor Mark Weathers, “it saves you money.”
With a homestead exemption, property is assessed at 10 percent of its value and owners can get up to $300 in tax credits. Non-homesteaded property is assessed at 15 percent, Weathers said.
For those with disability or who are over age 65, the county exempts the first $75,000 of the home’s value. If, for instance, you’re 65 and own a $100,000 house, you’ll pay taxes as though the home was worth only $25,000.
The Lee County Tax Assessor’s office has received more than 820 applications since the start of the year. Weathers said that’s fewer than normal. Most years net 1,200-1,300 applications.
“This year is down compared to last year,” he said. “The housing market hasn’t been to the full potential.”