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Beech urges residents to file for Homestead Exemption

Pearl River County Tax Assessor-Collector Gary Beech said homeowners can obtain significant savings on their ad valorem tax bills if they take advantage of filing for what is termed Homestead Exemption.

Deadline for filing is March 30. The savings from the filing will be reflected on next year’s tax bill, said Beech.

Beech said that if you have filed for Homestead Exemption and nothing has changed concerning you or your home’s status, then you probably don’t need to file again.

Those filing can do so at county tax offices on Main Street in Poplarville and at the Chimney Square county office complex on Goodyear Boulevard in Picayune.

There are three categories under which one can fall when they apply for Homestead Exemption.

In Category 1 you get an automatic five percent reduction in the rate your property is assessed, from 15 percent to 10 percent.

“It reduces your rate by which your home and property is assessed by one-third just by having that designation,” said Beech.

Then there is No. 2 regular Homestead and then the No. 3 category of over 65 and disabled.

If you fall under No. 2, you get a reduction up to $300 on your taxes, and No. 3 represents significant savings. The tax office subtracts $75,000 of value from your assessed valuation, said Beech, under Category 3.

“You only pay taxes on the amount over $75,000,” said Beech.

Added Beech, “Depending on the taxing district you are in, that can save you from $800 up to as much as $1,200.”

“We have one-time filing. If you have filed before and nothing has changed, you don’t have to refile,” he said.

“But if you have never filed, or during 2011, you have purchased a house, you have to file now for 2012 taxes,” he said. “If during 2011, your status changed: For instance, you got married, divorced or widowed, or your property changed, you added to or sold some property, that would necessitate you having to refile.”

“Even though you filed before, if something changes you have to refile,” said Beech.

For first-time filers, you will need a copy of your deed with recording information on it, drivers license, Social Security number, spouse’s information, including Social Security number, and car tag numbers, said Beech.

Regular hours for the tax office in Picayune and Poplarville are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you are not sure about your status, you can call the tax office either in Picayune or Poplarville, and personnel will help you determine whether or not you need to file or refile.