Residents can sign on for Homestead exemption

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By Walt Reichert

If you are at least 65 years of age, you can save yourself $300 to $350 on your property taxes this year just by showing proof of age.

The state's Homestead exemption law allows residents who are 65 years of age or older as well as residents who are 100 percent disabled to deduct $31,400 from the assessed value of their home before property taxes are paid. That means if a home is assessed at $100,000, the owner will have to pay property taxes on only $68,600.

To claim the exemption, residents need only bring proof of age to the Property Valuation Office in the courthouse annex on Washington Street. The exemption will be entered into the computer and stay with the house as long as the resident is at that address, said Property Valuation Administrator Brad McDowell. The exemption applies only to the house occupied by the resident. If the resident changes address, he should reapply, McDowell said.

If a resident is 100 percent disabled, he or she needs to bring proof of disability to the PVA office to qualify for the exemption, McDowell said. The person has to have been disabled for the entire year.

The $31,400 exemption is adjusted every two years and rises to reflect the cost of living.

McDowell said his office has sent out notices to church groups and senior citizens organizations, but he thinks a large number of local residents do not take advantage of the exemption.

"It's there for them and saves them $300 to $350 a year," McDowell said. "That's makes a big difference."