Property tax exemptions must be filed by today

Mar. 15—For those wanting to lower their property tax rate, today is the last day to submit exemptions to the Cleveland County Assessor's Office.

County Assessor Doug Warr said filing an exemption is a way property owners can lower their tax rates.

"An exemption is a reduction from your gross assessed value," he said.

According to Warr, Oklahoma is a fraction assessment state, which means property owners don't pay on the full value of their real estate. They instead pay a fraction or a percentage based on the market value.

By filing exemptions, they can lower the value on which their property is taxed, he said.

Property owners can only extend the March 15 deadline if they received a notice of an increase in valuation, after which they have 30 days to file.

Oklahoma offers different exemptions: manufactured home expansion, veterans exemption, storm shelter exemption, homestead exemption, senior valuation limitation, and double homestead exemption.

The manufactured home exemption is for individuals 62 and older as of Jan. 1. They must have a gross household income of $42,650 in Cleveland County and the land underneath them must not be owned by the homeowner. The family filing must have lived on the property for all of 2022.

A veterans exemption is for those honorably discharged from active service from a branch of the Armed Forces or Oklahoma National guard and who are 100% permanently disabled because of an incident sustained through military action.

Applicants must bring an embossed letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying they are a 100% disabled veteran, and the house must be owned by Jan. 1.

Up to 100 square feet are exempted from taxation for a storm shelter, which must be located inside the home and only applies to the original purchaser of the storm shelter.

The Homestead Exemption will lower a house's evaluation by $1,000 of its assessed value and is for applicants who live in their home but don't rent it out. Those who have applied in previous years do not need to reapply.

"The Homestead Exemption is an exemption of $1,000 from the assessed value of the homestead property, Warr said. "This equals a savings of around $100 on your property taxes depending on your taxing district and current millage rate. These rates change every year. Savings vary depending on your county."

A senior valuation freeze freezes the taxable value of a homestead property in the year when the original application was made.

"The taxable value remains the same until the ownership is changed or new improvements are added," Warr said. "However, the Assessor must maintain the current appraised (fair cash) value, even though you are taxed on the taxable value."

Warr said taxes can go up, or even down, depending on the millage rate and assessment ratio, which are controlled by voters.

Any person who is the head of household, age 65 or older as of Jan. 1 with a gross household income not exceeding $85,300 can apply for a senior valuation freeze.

Pat Tautfest, a Moore resident and senior, has lived in her home since 1963 and met with Warr about her property taxes in 2018.

"I went back and filed because I was a senior, and Doug helped me get the paperwork and it helped me to reduce my property taxes," Tautfest told The Transcript. "I save about $300 to $400 in taxes, so it has helped, especially for seniors that don't have income."

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has unanimously approved an increase to the income qualifier for an additional homestead exemption through House Bill 1926, authored by Rep. Lonnie Sims, R-Jenks. The measure would increase the income qualifier from $25,000 to $30,000.

"Unfortunately, due to the rise of inflation we've seen in the past few years, Oklahoma's seniors on a fixed income are now facing the same concerns and no longer qualify for the additional homestead exemption," Sims said in a news release. "House Bill 1926 raises the income qualifier accordingly to keep pace with these cost-of-living adjustments and ensures our seniors can still claim this exemption."

Exemptions can be filed in person at the at 201 S. Jones Ave. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Otherwise, forms can be downloaded from the assessor's website at and emailed to Forms may be mailed, but most be postmarked by March 15.

Brian King covers education and politics for The Transcript. Reach him at