By Daniel A. Burzynski
If you are feeling caught between rising property taxes and a fixed income, there may be relief. The Property Appraiser’s office can help you apply for the various exemptions to help reduce your tax bill. The most important is the homestead tax exemption, which brings the “cap” of Save Our Homes along with the exemption (currently $50,000.00) of some of the value from being taxed. There are smaller exemptions for widows, and disabled homeowners. These types of exemptions typically reduce the taxable value by $500.00 per exemption.
There is another, lesser known benefit you may qualify for: the homestead tax deferral. Rather than reduce or exempt some of the tax, the homestead tax deferral postpones the tax. If you meet the filing and income requirements, you could potentially postpone a portion up to the whole amount of taxes until you sell your property or until after your death.
Here’s how it works: If your household adjusted gross income is less than $28,448.00*, and you are over 65, you can defer the entire amount of your property taxes. The filing requirements include providing proof of your age, and income verification which can be met with a copy of the last year’s income tax return (1040 or equivalent). The filing timeline is January 1 to January 31 each year.
*This amount is indexed for inflation and will change each year.