Our home property taxes are taking a bigger and bigger slice out of the pie that we have to live on. If you are on a fixed income, payment of these taxes can become a tough financial burden.
Below is some information on tax relief help that is available to older adults from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Bolton:
Property Tax Deferral:
Clause 41A – This program is available those who are age 65 or older as of July 1 of the tax year and have had a legal home in Massachusetts for the preceding ten years. This is not a tax exemption, but rather delays payment of property taxes until the property is sold or the taxpayer dies. In order to qualify you must (1) have owned and occupied the property for at least 5 years, and (2) your gross receipts cannot exceed $20,000. Interest of 8 percent is charged on the deferred amount and would also need to be paid when the taxpayer dies or the property is sold.
Property Tax Exemptions:
Clause 41C – Residents who are 65 years old by July 1 may quality for $1,000 tax credit. The income requirements for this program if single are $20,000 per year and assets not in excess of $40,000. If married the income requirement is less than $30,000 and assets in excess of $55,000. As was the case for the deferral clause above, you must be living in Massachusetts for the last 10 years and own/occupy property for the last five.
- Clause 17D – This is an exemption for a surviving spouse and persons over the age of 70 that is less restrictive than Clause 41C. The exemption amount is $175 and the real estate value cannot exceed $40,000, excluding the total value of the property not to exceed three dwelling units. Persons 70 or older may, alternatively qualify for an exemption under Causes 41, 41B, or 41C, which provide increased benefits but for which the eligibility requirements are stricter.
- Clause 18 – This is a hardship exemption, which may be provided to anyone person who by reason of age, infirmity, and financial condition is unable to pay in the judgment of the assessors.
- Clause 22 – There are various exemptions for veterans and their spouses ranging from $400 to $1,000. In order to qualify, you must have certification of war-related disability or received Purple Heart or Distinguished Flying Cross and not have been dishonorably discharged.
- Clause 37A – This clause applies to those who are legally blind as of July 1. The tax credit is $500. In order to qualify you must also be registered with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
For more information on the above local program clauses, please call the Bolton Assessors Office at 978-779-5556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Tax Relief Program (STRP) – If you are over the age of 60 and own property in Bolton, you can earn up to a $1,000 real estate credit by working in various town departments. This is an opportunity for seniors to contribute their time and talents in exchange for some relief on their property tax bill. Please all Sheila Chmielowski at the Council on Aging, 978-779-3313, for more information on the STRP program.
State Aid – Circuit Breaker
This refundable tax credit is available to residents age 65 and over whose property taxes (or 25 percent of rent) exceed 10 percent of their income. The requirements are that (1) you own or rent residential property in Massachusetts that you occupy as your primary residence and (2) in 2013 your annual income is $55,000 or less for a single filer, $69,000 or less for a head of household, or $82,000 or less for joint filers. There are certain situations where you would not be eligible for the credit, such as if your property is assessed at $700,000 or more.
Even if you don’t normally file a tax return, you are most likely due a “refund” check if you meet the requirements. You can also file now for the previous three tax years.
You can get help filing your state tax return to claim the Circuit Breaker Credit from the AARP Tax-Aide Program. To find AARP Tax-Aide sites near Bolton, call AARP toll-free at 1-888-227-7669.