The new income-based credit for senior homeowners older than 65 will prevent property taxes from increasing more than 2 percent from the previous year's bill. This credit is in addition to the current tax caps set by House Bill 1001 at 1.5 percent of a homes assessed value in 2009 and 1 percent in 2010.
"For those who are already receiving the Over 65 tax exemption, we are filing the information for them," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said. "However, those who are not receiving the exemption and think they may be eligible are encouraged to file for it."
Alumbaugh added homeowners must be at least 65 by Dec. 31, which is also the deadline to file, and have a gross adjusted income of $30,000 for single filings and $40,000 for joint filings.
"Because there are income limits involved, those wanting to file for the credit must bring in their 1040 tax return from 2007," she said. "Also, the gross assessed value of the homestead cannot exceed $160,000, but those already receiving the Over 65 exemption do not need to apply for the credit."
The new credit took effect July 1, but state agencies took a while to settle on the rules governing it.
Alumbaugh said the Auditor's Office is happy to file the information for those already receiving the Over 65 exemption and encourage those wanting to file for the credit for the first time to contact the office before going to the courthouse.
"We encourage the calls first so that seniors won't have to make an unnecessary or second trip to the courthouse, especially because the streets can become slick in winter," she said. "Also, I want to emphasize that this is not an additional deduction."
For more information about the credit, contact the Clay County Auditor's Office at 448-9001. The Auditor's Office is located on the first floor of the Clay County Courthouse in Room 105.