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Know what property-tax deductions you are eligible for

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By The Staff

TELL CITY - County Auditor Connie A. Berger reminds taxpayers to file for property-tax deductions and exemptions. The one-time filing of deductions or exemptions is still in effect unless your status has changed.

Any deductions filed by Dec. 31 of this year will be applied to taxes payable in 2009. Following is an explanation of what may qualify taxpayers as having a change in status:

Mortgage Deduction

If a taxpayer mortgaged real property or refinanced between March 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008, an application needs to be filed by Dec. 31, 2008. When the mortgage balance falls below $3,000, the taxpayer is required to report the amount of indebtedness. The maximum allowable deduction is $3,000.

If you are buying real estate on contract, you are eligible for the mortgage deduction if you meet the following requirements: the contract must be in effect Dec. 31, 2008, recorded in the county recorder's office and it must state that the contract buyer is to pay the property taxes.

Age 65 Deduction

To file an age 65 deduction, the taxpayer must be 65 years or older by Dec. 31, 2007. The assessed value of real estate has a limit of $182,430. The adjusted gross income limit for filing is less than $25,000. A taxpayer is required to present a copy of their 2007 income tax return, if one has been filed. If the taxpayer who has been filing this deduction died between March 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008, the surviving spouse is required to file in 2008. The maximum allowable deduction is $12,480 and it must be filed by Dec. 31, 2008.

Disabled Veterans Deduction

There are four situations under which deductions are allowed to disabled veterans and World War I veterans and their surviving spouses. They are:

Total disability, $12,480 deduction, assessed-value limit is $113,000

Service-connected disability, $24,960 deduction

World War I veteran, $18,720 deduction

Surviving spouse of World War I veteran, $18,720 deduction

Veterans currently receiving a deduction, and who are 62 years of age as of Dec. 31, 2007, are also eligible for an additional $6,000 deduction, with the total disabled veterans deduction not to exceed $37,440. If the veteran who had been filing for this deduction died between March 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2008, the surviving spouse must be certified through Veterans Affairs and file the deduction by Dec. 31, 2008.

If the survivor remarries, the auditor needs to be notified.

Blindness or Disability Deduction

Blindness deduction requires a written statement from an Indiana physician. Disability deduction requires a written statement from an Indiana physician or a federal Social Security Administration statement of disability.

The taxable gross income limit is $17,000 and the deduction is $12,480. This deduction must be filed by Dec. 31, 2008.

Homestead Credit - Standard Deduction

A homestead property tax credit is filed on a property owner's principal place of residence. Only if your status has changed between March 1, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2008, would you need to re-file the homestead credit. The filing deadline for this credit is Dec. 31, 2008, for taxes payable in 2009.

The standard deduction has been provided for individuals who qualify for the homestead credit.

The standard deduction is equal to the lesser of $45,000 or 60 percent of the assessed valuation of the qualifying residential portion of the assessed valuation for taxes payable in 2009.

Geothermal Deduction

Any taxpayer who filed a geothermal deduction in 2002 or 2003 does not need to re-file the deduction again until the next reassessment year.

However, taxpayers who have recently installed geothermal heating in their homes but have not previously filed for this deduction may also be eligible to file.

If you have received notification from Southern Indiana Power, but have not applied for your certification with the Department of Environmental Management, filing needs to be done soon so the deduction can be filed in the auditor's office by Dec. 31, 2008.

If you have not filed for any of these deductions or if you have any questions pertaining to deductions, call the auditor's office at 547-6427, visit the courthouse. Or visit www.in.gov/dlgf.