Any Effingham County taxpayer who disagrees with the current value of has property has the opportunity to file a property tax return with the Effingham County Board of Tax Assessors until April 1.
If a taxpayer filed a property tax return or paid taxes on his property the year before and does not file a return on the 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 exemption as they had in the previous year.
Disagreeing with the current value of property is the first step of an appeal. After filing the return an appraiser from the tax assessors office will contact you to review the information on record.
Property owners can file for homestead exemption that will be applied to the 2008 tax bill through March 1.
Applications received after March 1 will be applied to the 2009 tax bill.
The requirement for filing for homestead exemptions are: the taxpayer must own the land and building; also this must have been their legal residence on Jan. 1. The local exemptions for all taxpayers who qualify are $4,000 county and $2,000 school. If you are age 62 or older you may quality for additional exemptions if you meet income requirements.
You are allowed a maximum social security and retirement income of $52,440 for 2008. Other income must be $10,000 or less to qualify for this additional exemption.
The application for exemptions is available in the tax assessors office and the staff will assist you in completing the application. All taxpayers who file and receive a homestead exemption also qualify for the homeowners tax credit. The credit for 2008 was $229.86. If you do not have a homestead exemption on your property, you will not receive this credit.
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 2007 notifying you that your conservation use covenant would end on Dec. 31, 2007, 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 at 754-2125. You can also find the answer to some questions and view property information and parcel maps on the Web site at www.effinghamcounty.org.