Any Effingham County taxpayer who disagrees with the current value of their property has the opportunity to file a property tax return between Jan. 1 and April 1 with the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors. There is no requirement to file a return every year.
If a taxpayer filed a property tax return or paid taxes on their property the year before and does not file a return on their property for the current tax year, then they are considered to have filed a return on the same property at the same valuation as the year before. And they are considered to have claimed the same homestead exemptions and personal property exemptions as they had in the previous year.
Generally, a homeowner is entitled to a homestead exemption on their home and land underneath provided the home was owned by the homeowner and was their legal residence as of Jan. 1 of the taxable year. Property owners can file for homestead exemption to be applied to their 2009 tax bill through April 1. Applications received after April 1 will be applied to the 2010 tax bill.
If you are age 62 or older you may quality for additional exemptions is you meet income requirements. You are allowed a maximum social security and retirement income of $55,742 for 2009. Other income must be $10,000 or less to qualify for this additional exemption. The application for exemptions is available in the tax assessor’s office and the staff will assist you in completing the application.
There are other special assessment programs available to property owners. These special programs include preferential agricultural property, conservation use property, environmentally sensitive property and residential transitional property. These are 10-year covenants that carry a penalty if you breach the covenant agreement. Appraisers in the tax assessor’s office can explain the special programs and help you with the application. The deadline for filing for a special assessment is April 1.
If you received a letter from the Board of Tax Assessors in the latter part of 2008 notifying you that your conservation use covenant would end on Dec. 31, 2008, you have until April 1 to file an application to keep your property in this special assessment program.
If you have any questions, contact the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors office. You can also find the answer to some questions and view property information and parcel maps at: www.effinghamcounty.org.