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County taking closer look at 2,700 homestead deductions

Surveys part of an audit that could require some to pay back taxes, penalties

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 3:21 pm

As promised last year, the Allen County Auditor's office has been conducting an audit to make sure property owners who claim a homestead deduction are entitled to the tax savings.

As part of that process, questionnaires will be sent to 2,700 select households to determine whether their credits are accurately in place. "If taxpayers are claiming more than one homestead on different properties, it increases taxes for the rest of the homeowners and businesses" in the county, Auditor Tera Klutz said.

The homestead credit lowers a property tax bill by about 50 percent on a primary residence, and about 95,000 of the county's 110,000 homeowners claim the deduction

Property owners will have 30 days to complete the survey, which is being sent with the help of South Carolina-based Tax Management Associates, which will also help with an audit of business personal property taxes.

Should the homestead credit be denied, the owner will be required to pay the taxes and penalties for the years the deduction was improperly received.