Pharos-Tribune

December 18, 2012

OUR VIEW: Don't forget to file that pink form


— Hoosier homeowners have a deadline coming up to keep their homestead exemptions.

Failing to file the required verification form will mean that you’ll lose your exemption next year, and that could be expensive. The exemption knocks $45,000 off the taxable value of your house, so losing that exemption could easily double the tax bill of the average homeowner.

It’s entirely possible that you’ve already filed.

The Cass County Auditor’s Office included the forms with tax statements mailed out in 2010, and if you filled out the form that year, you haven’t seen the pink form again. Those who ignored the form or laid it aside have gotten the form in each of their subsequent tax bills. So you might have filed it last spring or even 2 years ago.

A few weeks ago, the auditor’s office sent post cards to about 2,800 property owners it knew hadn’t filed. Many of them responded, but there are still a few who need to take action.

Filling out the form isn’t difficult. You can pick one up in the auditor’s office on the first floor of the County Government Building, or you can even fill it out online.

The goal here is to eliminate fraud. State officials want to make certain that homeowners aren’t claiming more than one homestead exemption.

You’re allowed to claim the exemption on only one property, your primary residence.

The form asks for the last five digits of your drivers license and the last five digits of the Social Security number. If the system finds another exemption with a duplicate number, your exemption will be rejected.

Anyone who loses a homestead exemption for failing to file the verification form will have to file again, and that will mean going without the exemption for at least a year.

So if you’re one of those homeowners who hasn’t filed a form, now is the time to act.

The task takes only minutes, and the tax savings you’ll realize as a result will be more than worth the effort. Take a few minutes today to make sure you’re covered.

What to do

To find out if you already applied, call the Cass County auditor’s office at 574-753-7720

Apply online at www.co.cass.in.us/dav/auditor/auditor.html or get an application at the county auditor’s office, 200 Court Park, Logansport.

Applications must be file stamped by Dec. 31