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Staying at Home with Nebraska’s Homestead Exemption

States often offer senior citizens, veterans and disabled taxpayers various tax savings opportunities. Nebraska tries to make home ownership more affordable for these taxpayers through the Homestead Exemption which reduces the real estate tax liability for qualifying taxpayers. The annual applications are accepted after February 1st and  before June 30th each year and affect the following year’s real estate tax liability.

The eligibility qualifiers are more complex than the scope of this article but are basically based on age, disability, home value, home occupancy and income.

Taxpayers must have at least one of the following three age or disability qualifiers:

  1. The taxpayer must have turned 65 before January 1st of the current year
  2. Qualifying permanently physically disabled taxpayers
  3. Qualifying disabled veterans or their widow(er)s

Taxpayers must also meet the following criteria:

  1. The home value cannot exceed 200% of the county’s assessed value for a single family residence for seniors and disabled civilians and 220% for disabled veterans’ or their widow(er)s) (The average value in 2013 was $141,995)
  2. The maximum exemption available is 100% of the county’s average assessed value for seniors or disabled civilians and 120% for disabled veterans and their widow(er)s
  3. The home must be occupied between January 1 and August 15th of the year in which the real estate taxes are reduced
  4. The applicants must meet the income guidelines.

The homestead exemption income includes both taxable and exempt income less medical expenses. If a taxpayer files a tax return for the application year, then it is used to complete the application however filing a tax return is not required to qualify for the exemption.

Applications are available at your county’s Assessor’s office or online. Applications are mailed on request or can be completed online.  You can complete the application yourself, have your tax professional assist you, or check with your county assessor to see assistance in completing the application is available.

Websites:

http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/homestead.html

Specific County Links:

DouglasCounty: http://dcassessor.org/homestead-exemptions

SarpyCounty: http://www.sarpy.com/assessor/homestead.html

 

Sharon McAlister About Sharon McAlister

Sharon has over a decade of income tax experience and has worked in local, regional and international public accounting firms. She specializes in individual taxation and in small businesses and enjoys helping people succeed. If you have questions for Sharon, please send her an email. To see other posts by Sharon, click here.

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