If you are a long-time resident of Mississippi, you are probably familiar with our homestead laws. But if you are a new resident, it's important to know Mississippi is a Homestead Exemption state. This means the state offers a reduction in property taxes to qualified residents on their primary home.
The exemption isn't automatic; you must file for this reduction between January 2 to March 31 the first year of your home purchase. You must meet certain criteria to be eligible, i.e., be a resident of the state and file a MS tax return, you must live in the home as of January 1 the year you file, plus your vehicle(s) require MS license plates. Take a copy of your warranty deed when you file for this reduction at the Assessor's office of the county in which you reside.
You only need to file once unless there is a change in marital status, change of ownership, divorce, or death of a spouse. The assessor's office will send a postcard to your residence each year to confirm residency. If you move for any reason, your homestead status will be revoked, and your tax rate will increase. You can, however, carry your status to the next home you purchase, as long as your next home is within the state. The exemption is only allowed on your primary residence and cannot be filed on multiple properties. Rental property or a second home doesn't qualify.
Additional exemptions apply once you reach age 65 or become 100% disabled. Other reductions are available if you are a 100% disabled veteran.
Occasionally I come across homeowners who were unaware of this exemption, thus fail to take advantage of the savings. This happens occasionally when buyers purchase direct from builders, weren't reminded to file, or simply forget.
It's important to capitalize on this opportunity if you are eligible. It will be an attractive incentive to the future buyer of your home, and it will save you thousands of tax dollars in the meantime.
Feel free to reach out if you have questions about this process.