Residents of Houston County, Alabama can potentially enjoy a reduction in their property tax liability by claiming a homestead exemption. As of 2011, state law permits qualifying homeowners to deduct up to $4,000 in state taxes and up to $2,000 in county taxes from the total assessed value of their property. If you live in Houston County and own your home, learn how to go about claiming your homestead exemption.
Determine whether you meet the minimum requirements to claim the homestead exemption. Under Title 40 of the Alabama Code, you must be a state resident, the property in question must be your primary residence and its size must be limited to 160 acres or less. The homestead exemption may be claimed for permanent homes, condominiums or manufactured homes but it does not apply to vacation homes or rental properties.
Determine which type of exemption you qualify for. Residents of Houston County who are military veterans or are under the age of 65 automatically qualify for the homestead exemption, regardless of their income or the property's value. If you are over age 65, permanently disabled or blind, your income determines whether you can claim the homestead exemption for state taxes, county taxes or both.
Collect your supporting documentation. All Houston County residents are required to provide a copy of their prior year's state and federal tax returns when applying for a homestead exemption. If you plan to claim the exemption for land or a manufactured home, you must also provide the title or bill of sale. If you are disabled, you must provide two statements from physicians attesting to the nature of your disability or a copy of your disability benefits award letter from the Social Security or Veterans Administration.
Visit the Houston County administrative building, located in Dothan, Alabama. You must make your initial application for a homestead exemption in person at the Revenue Commissioner's Office. You must complete an assessment sheet and provide the Revenue Commissioner with your property's tax parcel ID number and your supporting documentation.
Renew your claim annually to continue receiving your homestead exemption. Exemption renewal forms are mailed to Houston County residents beginning October 1 of each year and the form must be returned and completed by December 31. Applicants who are over age 65 or claiming disability status may file homestead applications between October 1 and March 31 of the following year.
Contact the Houston County Revenue Commissioner's office you do not receive your annual renewal form. Failing to complete the renewal form in the prescribed time frame will result in your homestead exemption being canceled for the following tax year.
Report any changes in your ownership status to the Houston County tax assessor's office immediately to avoid incurring a penalty.
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