Oklahoma homeowners can stake claim to higher homestead exemption

May 4, 2021 | Headlines

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed legislation by Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks, to update the statutory income qualifier to claim an additional homestead exemption for the first time since 1997.

House Bill 1009 increases the statutory income qualifier to claim an additional homestead exemption from $20,000 to $25,000. The additional homestead exemption reduces, by $1,000, the assessed valuation on the homestead of a homeowner whose gross household income is below the income qualifier limit.

“The cost-of-living has increased substantially over the last 24 years, so it is long past time for us to adjust this income qualifier,” Sims said. “Many Oklahomans living on a fixed income have lost their homestead exemption simply because they no longer meet the income qualifier as a result of cost of living adjustments by Social Security and others since 1997. I’m glad we were able to give our constituents a little extra tax savings, and I thank Sen. Montgomery and the Governor for their support of this bill.”

HB1009 was authored in the Senate by Sen. John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton.

“I’m thankful I was able to work my colleagues across both sides of the aisle to pass this measure through the Senate,” Montgomery said. “The homestead exemption is a valuable tool to aid homeowners in lowering their property taxes and protecting themselves in the event their spouse dies. I’m glad we were able to expand the parameters of who qualifies for the exemption so more Oklahomans can take advantage of this benefit. “

HB1009 would restrict any one-time federal disbursements, such as CARES funding, from being included in the income calculation for this exemption. On average, the double homestead exemption results in a savings ranging from $87 to $137 annually.

Current statute outlines that Oklahomans aged 65 and older who previously qualified for the exemption are no longer required to file annually, but many retired Oklahomans still do. This puts local tax assessors in a position of having to take away the exemption when informed that the homeowner’s income has increased above the current qualifier of $20,000.

HB1009 was passed in the House with its title struck. After the title was restored in the Senate, the bill returned to the House and received final approval on Tuesday, April 27. Gov. Stitt signed the bill into law on May 3, 2021, and it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.