Iowa senior citizens and veterans who own their homes should now be applying for the new property tax exemption recently passed by the Iowa Legislature. The deadline is July 1.

  Most people already know about the homestead tax credit that has been in effect for many years and applies to everyone who owns the home they live in. This new exemption is an extension of that program but applies only to veterans and those over age 65.

  If you are age 65 or older and own the home you live in, you can sign up to have the taxable value of your home reduced by $3,250 for assessment year 2023. It will reduce the property taxes you pay in September 2024 and March 2025. (For a house in Belmond, the savings would be about $130.00)

  The program will grow in 2024 to $6,500, and will reduce the property taxes you pay in September 2025 and March 2026. (For a house in Belmond, the savings would be about $260.00.)

  The new law more than doubles a property tax exemption for veterans by increasing it to $4,000 in taxable value from the current $1,852. Be aware that military veterans currently receiving the exemption do not need to file a new application as long as the veteran or the veteran's spouse is the legal or equitable owner of the property on July 1. The exemption applies for an honorably separated, retired, furloughed to a reserve, placed on inactive status or discharged veteran.

  Note that this program reduces the value of your house for tax purposes. It is not a tax credit.

  If a home is owned by a husband and wife who are both over 65, both should fill out a form certifying their age. If a home is owned by a couple, but only one is 65 or older, only the oldest spouse should fill out a form. The younger spouse should fill out a form when he/she turns 65.

  The necessary two-page application forms are now available online. Using the browser on your computer, go to:    

   The form should be filled out, signed, and returned to your county assessor at the courthouse. You may drop off the form in person, or you can mail it in. In Wright County, the address is: Wright County Assessor, PO Box 428, Clarion, IA 50525.

  Questions may be directed to your county assessor. In Wright County, the phone number is 515-532-3737. The offices closes at 4 p.m. weekdays.