April 1 is the deadline for filing a property tax return for 2011. The return is your estimation of value of your property. This date is also the deadline for filing for homestead exemption and Specialized Assessments such as Conservation Use Valuation covenants for 2011.
As in past years, any Effingham County taxpayer who disagrees with the current value of their property can file a property tax return between Jan. 1 and April 1 with the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors, however beginning in 2011 all owners of real property (land and buildings) will receive an assessment notice every year. Regardless of whether a property tax return was filed or not filed, you will receive an assessment notice in 2011.
Property owners can apply for homestead exemption year round; however the application must be filed by April 1 to be applied for the 2011 digest year. Any applications received after that date will be applied to 2012. The requirements for filing for homestead exemptions are the taxpayer must own the land and building and live on the property on Jan. 1, 2011.
There are other special assessment programs available to property owners. These special programs include Preferential Agricultural Property, Conservation Use Property, Environmentally Sensitive Property, Residential Transitional Property and the Forest Land Protection Act covenant. They are 10-year covenants on all, except the Forest Land Protection Act, which is a 15-year covenant.
Appraisers in the Tax Assessors office can explain the special programs and help you with the application. The deadline for filing for a special assessment is April 1, 2011. If you received a letter from the Board of Tax Assessors in the latter part of 2010 notifying you that your Conservation Use Covenant would end on Dec. 31, 2010, you have until April 1, 2011 to file an application to keep your property in this special assessment program.
Property owners who have land in the Conservation Use covenant but withheld a portion of the parcel from the covenant will receive a letter from the Board of Tax Assessors in the next few weeks. The letter will provide information concerning changes to laws and regulations on covenants
You can find the answer to some questions, print forms and applications, view property information and parcel maps on the Web site at: www.effinghamcounty.org.
If you have any question please contact the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors office at 754-2125.