How do Oklahoma homestead exemptions work?

A “homestead exemption” is a strong safeguard for homeowners in many states, including Oklahoma. There are two common uses of the phrase “homestead exemption” in Oklahoma. Our guide discusses what people mean when they use this phrase, as well as the details of various types homestead exemptions.

Oklahoma Homestead Exemption: Shielding the Home From Creditors

Under state law, the homestead exemption can protect the owner of a primary residence from having their property sold in order to pay certain debts from creditors. Therefore, the homestead can be “exempt” from a forced sale. This protection is memorialized in Article XII of the Oklahoma Constitution, stating that the home cannot be sold to settle the owner’s debts. It is also reaffirmed in Oklahoma Statutes, Title 31, Section 1, exempting the primary residence from the debts unrelated to mortgages of the property.

Limits on the Homestead Exemption:

  • The exemption can only be claimed on a debtor’s “principal residence.”
  • This protection excludes mortgages, sometimes known as purchase money mortgages, where the funds loaned by the bank or other lender are used to purchase the property itself. Mortgage foreclosure is still a remedy that the lender-creditor can pursue; the lender can force a sale of the property which is mortgaged to pay the mortgage debt.
  • The size and location of the homestead determines the amount of the exemption. Within city and town limits, homestead protection may be claimed for properties up to one acre. Outside of city and town limits, homestead protection expands to a maximum of 160 acres.
  • The exemption cannot stop a creditor from placing a lien on the property, or a money judgment from becoming a judgment lien.

Oklahoma Exemptions in Bankruptcy

The list of property that is exempt from attachment, execution, or other forced sale (which is found in Oklahoma Statutes, Title 31, Section 1) also includes items in addition to the primary residence. Items such as furniture, cemetery lots, farming tools, and more, can be claimed by Oklahoma residence who file for bankruptcy protection.

Oklahoma Homestead Exemption: Tax Relief

The second meaning of “homestead exemption” that is used throughout Oklahoma is about annual property tax relief. Homeowners residing in their primary residences on a permanent basis as of January 1 can benefit from an exemption of up to $1,000.00 of the assessed valuation of the homestead property. This typically results in a tax savings of $60-120 per calendar year.

Homeowners must apply to their county tax assessor with a properly completed and signed Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) Form 921 by March 15 to qualify for that year’s exemption. If filed after March 15, the exemption may apply to the following calendar year. You are not required to re-apply for the exemption each year. You may only have one homestead exemption within the state at any time, as the exemption is based on the location of your primary residence.

Summary of Oklahoma Homestead Exemptions

Oklahoma law allows your home to be protected from forced sale by creditors, and also allows a set rate discount from assessed property taxes. Avenue Legal Group can help you navigate a forced sale issue or a property tax homestead exemption application. Contact us to discuss your homestead exemption.



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