Are you paying too much in property taxes? If you're not sure whether you are getting your Homeowners' Exemption, that may be the case.
For Orange County homeowners, you may qualify for a Homeowners' Exemption if the following four items are true for you:
* You own the property
* It was your principal residence on January 1st at 12:01 am this past year
* You don't already have a Homeowners' Exemption for another property
* You submitted a completed application to the Orange County Tax Assessor
If you owned your home as of 1/1/2010 and occupied it as your principal residence on that particular date, you may qualify for a Homeowners' Exemption that would exempt $7,000 of your property's value (per Assessor) from taxation.
What if you owned your home this year but AFTER 1/1/2010? Don't worry. You can still qualify for the exemption, but it won't apply until the next property tax year (tax years run from July 1 thru June 30).
How do you know if you're getting the Homeowners' Exemption already? You'll be able to see it on your property tax bill mailed to you each year (usually around October), or you can view it online. If you need a quick tutorial on how to look it up online, see one of my previous blog posts here.
What if you owned your home BEFORE 1/1/2010 but are NOT getting the Homeowners' Exemption? If you think you qualify for the Homeowners' Exemption, you'll need to call the Orange County Tax Assessor's office at 714-834-3821 to get more info on submitting an application.
NOTE: New homeowners are automatically mailed exemption applications shortly after closing escrow. Whenever you buy a new home, you may get a lot of (junk) mail from companies that claim that they can file for your Homeowners' Exemption for a fee. DON'T BUY INTO THIS! There is NO application fee to do this. Make sure to look out for this form from the Orange County Tax Assessor -- it'll have the Assessor's seal on it and won't ask for any payment from you to submit the application (aside from postage).
Keep in mind that it's not a savings of $7,000, but rather a reduction of your property's taxable value. While it may not calculate to much after applying your property tax rate to it, it's still better than nothing and worth the few minutes to ensure you're getting the exemption, in my humble opinion.
For more info on the Homeowners' Exemption, looking up your property tax info online, or other homeowner tips, feel free to contact me.