CROWN POINT — Lake County Auditor John Petalas said he is extending the deadline for homeowners to apply for homestead and mortgage deductions.

The public now has until Jan. 5.

Petalas said his office is currently swamped with homeowners who postponed applying for these tax breaks.

He said the normal deadline would be the last business day of the year, but he has requested and received permission from the state to extend that deadline another week.

He said the office, at 2293 N. Main St., is closed Friday in honor of New Year's Eve and Monday, New Year's Day, but will reopen on Tuesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The homestead and mortgage deductions work by reducing the amount of assessed value a taxpayer pays on a given parcel of property. 

Taxpayers do not need to reapply for deductions annually. Reapplication should only occur if the property is sold, the title is changed or, in the case of a mortgage deduction, the home is refinanced.