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Homestead exemption review winding down

Tax assessors board pleased with update

POSTED: November 17, 2013 12:27 a.m.

The Forsyth County Board of Tax Assessors approved the last batch of homestead exemption removals on Thursday following the completion of an audit program.

The tax assessor's office began working with Tax Management Associates about a 18 months ago to find residents who may be claiming two homesteads, when just one is allowed.

Tax Assessor Mary Kirkpatrick said the process has been beneficial to the county.

“We generated a little revenue. We basically cleaned up the books. I think we’ve been very fortunate with this,” Kirkpatrick said.

“We don’t have a final tally because these corrections basically indicate that the 45-day appeal period on the last group we mailed has ended and we can now bill.”

In about two months, she expects to know what has been collected.

Board member Rick O’Brien said the staff has done a great job taking initiative to find these double exemptions.

“Our role as the assessors is getting it legally on the books,” O’Brien said. “Another department around here is in charge of collections.”

Kirkpatrick said the process has been a lot of work, but she hopes the county will review the homestead claims every several years.

As a result of the program, she said the office has put another policy in place as a safeguard.

The address on the driver’s license must match that of the property that a person is applying for a homestead exemption.

In most of the cases, Kirkpatrick said people with more than one claim seemed to have made “an innocent mistake.”

“We also found a lot of what we knew was blatant,” she said.

The homestead exemption is $8,000 off the assessed value in Forsyth, which amounts to about $107 off per year for the average homeowner.


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