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Still time to apply
Deadline for homestead exemptions is March 1
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Property owners who haven’t already applied for the county’s new homestead exemptions only have until March 1 to do so, according to Bryan County Tax Commissioner Debbie Newman.
“If people are entitled to it, we want them to get it,” she said.
Voters across the county overwhelmingly approved the handful of homestead exemptions during last year’s general election – including a $50,000 exemption for those 65 and older and a $30,00 exemption for other homeowners.
Both exemptions are applied to the 40 percent taxable value of property, not its fair market value, Newman said.
Using 2006 millage rates as an example, she provided figures showing those 65 and older could save more than $1,000 on their 2007 taxes by using the exemption if the 2007 millage rate remains relatively unchanged.
By contrast, seniors who used the $2,000 homestead exemption on county taxes and $20,000 exemption on school taxes in 2006 saved slightly more than $290. That’s a difference of more than $700.
While the senior citizens homestead exemption applies to both school and county taxes – and they now get a 100 percent exemption on state property taxes on a home and up to 10 contiguous acres of land –  the $30,000 regular homestead exemption for those under the age of 65 applies only to county taxes, Newman said.
But it could save property owners more than $190 on their 2007 taxes. Newman compared that to 2006, when those who received the county’s $2,000 homestead exemption saved $12.95 – a difference of more than $170.
There are several other homestead exemptions available. to property owners, including a $30,000 exemption from county taxes and $10,000 on school taxes for those age 62-64 who earn less than $10,000 excluding retirement or social security income up to $50,784.
Disabled veterans and surviving spouses of service members killed in action who haven’t remarried also are entitled to homestead exemptions
Georgia voters also approved a state measure to give a 100 percent homestead exemption on all property taxes to unmarried surviving spouses of peace officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Those who already are getting the senior citizens exemption don’t have to reapply for the state portion, Newman said.
“There’s no need to reapply unless you’ve moved,” she said.
Those who apply for the regular homestead exemption must be 64 or younger, own the land and home and use it as a primary residence. They also need  to provide proof of residency.
Property owners with two or more residences can get a homestead exemption on only one home and service members who aren’t Georgia residents are not eligible for the homestead exemption.
Property owners seeking the 65-and-older homestead exemption need to provide proof of residency and age.
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