Property taxes, the semiannual bill that pays for local services like schools, libraries and the police, are quite often a hardship for those over the age of 65. However, every state has at least one program that attempts to defray the cost for the elderly. Each state program has different rules of eligibility. However, they all share one commonality: Elderly homeowners must reach out for help first before receiving benefits.
Contact your town or city tax assessor's office and verify the hours of operation. You can also check the town website to see if hours of operation and property tax abatement program information is online.
Ask the assessor what programs are available for the elderly; some towns have programs that provide relief for senior volunteers, while others offer relief based on age and the amount of time you've lived in the home. Some states have hardship programs or permit you to defer property taxes via tax lien (this means the taxes are due and payable when the home is sold).
Visit the assessor and fill out the required paperwork. You will need to provide proof of eligibility for items such as age and residency. You may also check the website to see if you can download the application and complete it at home.
Return the paperwork to the assessor, along with the required documentation, and keep a copy for yourself. Pay attention to the filing deadlines; if you miss the filing deadline, you may lose the abatement for the full year. Also, find out if you need to reapply every year, or if you only need to apply once.
Speak with a tax professional to determine how a tax abatement is treated on income taxes; you may be required to pay income taxes on abated property taxes.
Save your paperwork as proof of eligibility. If your home value has decreased significantly, you may be eligible for a reassessment.
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