County residents should apply in order to benefit from the program
By Mark H. Stowers
The Bolivar Bullet
Keeping more hard-earned money helps homeowners across the country. The Homestead Exemption can help do just that. Bolivar County Assessor and Collector Will Hooker explained the exemption is “a privilege offered to eligible taxpayers by the State of Mississippi.”
He noted the deduction isn’t automatic and there are different types to apply for.
“I prefer to use the term credit or discount to help it register for many of our citizens,” said Hooker. “The credit or discount is not granted automatically. An application must be filed and each taxpayer must qualify for the credit. There are two types of homesteads classifications – regular and additional typically called ‘special.’”
Hooker further explained that the regular credit (discount) is given to all eligible taxpayers.
“The credit is from all ad valorem taxes assessed to property, limited to the first $7,500 of assessed value but limited to $300 of actual discounted tax dollars. Any ad valorem taxes imposed on the assessed value of property over the first $7,500 must be paid.”
The additional special discount goes a bit further with savings.
“The credit is from all ad valorem taxes assessed to property, limited to the first $7,500 of assessed value. The difference from the regular versus the special is ‘no’ dollar limit is placed on the actual discounted tax dollars. Any ad valorem taxes imposed on the assessed value of property over the first $7,500 however must be paid.”
With COVID-19 restrictions, Hooker and his office have instituted a homestead phone number, (662) 579-0225 to help taxpayers set up appointments.
“This is particularly helpful to elderly citizens who are the most vulnerable at this time. It also provides an opportunity to be time efficient,” he said.
The homestead application process opened on January 3 and will remain open until April 1. This time period is set by State statute and is the same for all 82 counties. To apply for first time, you must visit the Tax Assessor office, 200 Court Street, and bring following documents:
A copy of your recorded warranty deed.
Mississippi car and/or truck tag numbers.
Social Security cards for you and spouse, if married.
Birthdates for you and your spouse and any other parties applying for homestead credit.
A closing or settlement statement.
If you are applying for the “special” homestead credit for those more than 65 years old by January 1 of filing year, bring proof of your birthdate to quality for the additional tax credit.
For mobile homes, bring a bill of sale or application for mobile home title.
To apply for Social Security disability benefit “special” homestead, bring a current letter regarding your disability status from the Social Security office.
You don’t have to reapply each year except for the following reasons:
You have gotten separated or divorced recently. Bring a copy of your divorce documents. If you got married, you need a copy of the marriage license.
You have received property through a will. Bring a copy of the court order.
You have added, removed or changed name(s) in your deed. You must refile to reflect that change.
The legal description of property has changed.
Occupancy of the homestead property has changed.
Death of a spouse. You must verify you qualify for the same credit the deceased spouse was receiving. You must provide a death certificate, proof of age if you are over 65, and disability paperwork, if you are disabled.
To apply for homestead for a disability, bring your disability paperwork. This helps determine if you still quality without reapplying for homestead exemption. Hooker warns that if you don’t apply or reapply when required, you could lose your homestead discount.
“It is the responsibility of the applicant to update pertinent information regarding their homestead in order for the homeowner to be eligible and remain eligible for the homestead credit or discount,” said Hooker.
Hooker said his office accepts the applications but the decisions to grant and disqualify them are made by the Mississippi Department of Revenue. Some reasons you can be disqualified for homestead include:
Owing Mississippi income tax.
Claiming to be a resident of another state when assessed with income tax.
Having homestead on any other property in the county or in any other state. You must be living full-time on the property receiving homestead.
Keep in mind if your homestead is disqualified by the State, you will be charged the amount of credit or discount you may have received in a prior year the following year. This is called a charge back and will be reflected on your tax statement.
For further information call homestead line at (662) 579-0225 for an appointment or the Assessor/Collector office at (662) 843-2946.