Mercer Courthouse early voting file

The Mercer County Courthouse

PRINCETON — Mercer County residents who are 65 or older and disabled residents can qualify for a program which lowers property taxes on the home they live in.

Mercer County Assessor Lyle Cottle said Monday that he wanted more county residents to know about the Homestead Act.

“There’s a lot of people who just don’t know about this,” he stated. “If you’re 65 (or older) or 100 percent disabled, all you have to do is coming into our office with proof of disability and an ID, and you’ve got a $20,000 discount off the value of your main residence. If, we say, your home’s worth $100,000 and you’re 65 and it’s your residence where you live, we revalue it at $80,000. We give you a $20,000 credit because you’re either disabled or 65 and over.”

Residents can sign up for the discount only once a year between July 1 and Nov. 30, Cottle said.

“If you apply for it this year, you’re actually not going to get it until next year’s taxes,” he said. “That’s why it’s good to sign up for it right when you’re 65 and be sure to get it off your taxes on your first available year. As a matter of fact, we had a gentleman who’s 91 years old, and he said, ‘All these years, I never knew there was such a thing.’”

Cottle estimated that about four to five people a day sign up for the Homestead Exemption.

“I’d say what we sign up sounds like a fair amount of people, but I’d say there are five or six times more people that are eligible and don’t realize it. And people buying from out of state don’t know the rules in this county,” he said.

The $20,000 credit applies only to homes in which the citizen is living. It does not apply to other homes and property that they own, Cottle added.

“Even if it saves them only $200, that’s still a lot of money to some people,” he said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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