The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss and an integral part of the community, has helped pave the way to important economic growth in industry and commerce in the area. The university provides many social and cultural activities, as well as opportunities for adults wishing to further their education. In fact, retirees 65 years or over can take four credits per semester free as part of the Lifetime Learners Program. www.outreach.olemiss.edu/LifetimeLearner/
The local satellite campus of Northwest Mississippi Community College is yet another educational option that offers additional continuing education opportunities. www.northwestms.edu
An active Newcomers Club meets monthly and welcomes all new residents and retirees to their group. The group also hosts numerous activities such as a book club, bridge club, a dinner club and a variety of other groups and educational activities that members enjoy. fi
While the benefits of living in a college town are endless, the reasonable cost of living in Oxford enhances the reasons to retire here. Many national publications such as USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, CNN/Travel Leisure and MSN Money just to name a few, have featured the Lafayette County seat as one of the most desirable retirement destinations in the United States, with the Memphis International Airport only 70 minutes away.
COST OF LIVING
In Mississippi, individuals age 65 and over qualify for a special tax exemption for their primary residence: the first $75,000 of true value on a declared homestead is exempt from local property taxes. Also, all certified retirement income is exempt from Mississippi state tax for those 65 and over. The cost of living is as attractive as the local scenery. According to nationwide statistics, the cost of living in Mississippi is approximately 10 percent below the national average.
The average selling price of a residential single family home in Oxford-Lafayette County sells for about 296,000 with a median price of $230.000 and offers a variety of housing styles. (Source: North Central MS Realtors MLS for the period of Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016) Grand antebellum and historic homes compliment and influence even the newest developments. Small farms may be found just minutes from the city limits with rural acreage available. Newcomers are pleasantly surprised to find that even resort golf course living is very affordable. A beautifully manicured golf community has homes and sites available for residential homes, condominiums, garden homes and golf villas nestled around the fairways of the 1,000-acre community. The local Mayor’s Committee on Disability Issues works to encourage developers and builders to incorporate standards of Universal Design in all new residential construction. Local business owners are encouraged to make sure their establishments are designed to emphasize safety and maximize accessibility.
For persons age 65 and over or 100 percent Social Security Disabled (with proof), Mississippi law provides a generous exemption from certain ad valorem taxes for those who homestead in Lafayette County. The first $75,000 of true value on a declared homestead is exempt from local property taxes. For example, the annual property tax on a $200,000 home inside city limits of Oxford (Taxes with Regular Homestead paid to the City of Oxford is $1,627.80 and taxes paid to Lafayette County is $524.60.) However, for persons over age 65 or 100 percent Social Security Disabled, the same home would have a city property tax of $1,111.13 and a county property tax of $421.63. (Based on 2016-17 city & county tax rates; tax rates change yearly on Sept. 15)
Note: 100 percent Disabled Veterans, service-connected with proof (letter) from Department of Veterans Affairs can be totally exempt on homestead property.
City: Residents pay an ad valorem tax to both the City of Oxford and Lafayette County. A Separate School District tax is required of city residents.
County: Residents pay an ad valorem tax on real property. If located within the Separate School District but outside Oxford city limits, residents are required to pay a Separate School District tax. If located outside the Separate School District, residents pay a Lafayette County School tax.
State: Mississippi has a seven percent sales tax.
For those who are 65 and over, income from federal, state or private retirement plans is exempt from state income taxes. Furthermore, after generous exemptions and standard deductions, the state income tax ranges from a low three percent to a high of five percent.
The Retiree Attraction Program, sponsored by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, invites one to partake in a personal tour featuring housing options and points of interest that are offered in the area. Contact Rosie Vassallo to setup your
tour: firstname.lastname@example.org, (800) 880-6967 or visit www.retire.oxfordms.com.