Are you enjoying the lowest possible property tax rate Baldwin County offers?
In the past few months, I have listed a couple of properties and found that a couple of homeowners were paying higher property taxes for years because they had never filed for Homestead Exemption.
Simply put, that is a tax break to people who live in the houses they own, as opposed to rental or commercial properties, etc. The county says those who are exempt will save at least $45 a year in taxes; most Realtors will tell you the exemption almost cuts your property taxes in half.
How did this happen? Usually at closing a title company will remind you to file for the exemption and the best title companies will remind you again when they forward your recorded deed to you a month or so after closing. However, you are less likely to get this reminder if you bought a home directly from a volume home builder and closed through their closing company (this is more likely if the builder is based out of state).
Sometimes, despite the reminders, new homeowners simply forget to this in the hubbub of moving into their new home.
Here's how to check to see if you are enjoying your exemption.
Click on Real and Personal Property Taxes, which opens a new window to the Property Link page. Type in your name or street. This will bring up a list. Find your name in the list and click on your name. Look for "Exempt code" Do you see an H for homestead? If yes, then you are receiving the homestead exemption tax rate. If you don´t see anything there, chances are you´re not enjoying your homestead exemption.
Take your deed to one of the Baldwin County courthouse locations (Bay Minette, Fairhope or Foley) and file for your homestead exemption. It will save you money.
If you are over 65, you have a different tax exemption for homestead. If you´ve recently turned 65, you may want to check with the county to see if you can enjoy further property tax savings.