AMESBURY – Low-income seniors in the area may be eligible for two new tools to help them save money now that city council has approved a pair of tax measures
The city council approved a measure setting a higher rate for the city’s senior tax exemption program, as well as a measure to reduce the annual interest charged to residents using the city’s property tax deferral program. seniors at its May 12 meeting.
At-Large City Councilor Steve Stanganelli co-sponsored the two measures with District 2 Councilor Anthony Rinaldi and District 6 Councilor Michael Hogg.
Homeowners who qualify for the state’s senior circuit breaker tax credit could also qualify for the city’s senior tax exemption program, Stanganelli said.
“I don’t think you’ll find hundreds of people in town who qualify for this, but I think you’ll find a few,” Stanganelli said. “It will definitely help the few who need it.”
Stanganelli said the owner of an average single-family home with a home valued at $ 420,000 is expected to see an average tax bill of $ 7,682 for fiscal year 2021. Under the city’s senior tax exemption program, this tax bill would be reduced by $ 1,446 for eligible seniors.
“It’s basically close to a 20% reduction in the tax bill for seniors,” Stanganelli said. “Many other communities have done the same as well. When a person applies for the exemption, they must prove that they are eligible by showing their Massachusetts Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Schedule and, regardless of that amount. , she will get a tax exemption. Almost 1.5 times that credit. This credit varies, at the state level, from about $ 1 to $ 1,150. “
Seniors must have lived in a city (but not at the same address) within the past 10 years to be eligible for the senior tax exemption program.
“That doesn’t mean everyone will get that 1.5 times, that $ 1,150,” Stanganelli said. “This means that if someone goes to the Board of Appraisers with a request, saying they have a credit of $ 1,000, they would get it 1.5 times as an exemption offered on their local property taxes. . But if somebody comes up with $ 1 as a breaker, they’ll get next to nothing. It’s all based on income. “
Stanganelli added that 376 Amesbury residents qualified for the state’s senior circuit breaker tax credit program and received an average tax cut of about $ 960 from the state in 2018.
“If they get the maximum mass credit. Breaker, they get it because their income is extremely low,” Stanganelli said. “Their adjusted gross income is around $ 5,000. That means they’re probably on Social Security and maybe working part-time at Market Basket for around $ 5,000 a year. On the other hand, someone who has a pension and social security and they have another job or other income, they might be on the other side of the scale and make well over $ 60,000 or $ 90,000 per year. They probably won’t get more than a few dollars from the city. “
According to Stanganelli, under the property tax deferral program for the elderly, the city’s low-income middle-aged person could save money through a reduction in the interest rate of the money that ‘it may owe in municipal property taxes.
“If you’re having trouble paying your property taxes, you could be paying around 15% right now,” Stanganelli said. “You would have accumulated that at an annual rate. But we lowered it in this case, I believe, to 4%.”
The level of income used when a person applies for the Senior Property Tax Deferral Program has also been increased, compared to the city’s previous $ 40,000.
“By adopting this program, we are increasing the income level to an income level of $ 61,000,” Stanganelli said. “But that will change automatically, depending on what the Massachusetts Department of Revenue changes when it updates the Mass. Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, year after year. This also applies whether you are single. , married and jointly reporting or head of household.. We think this will help a few more people. We also asked the rater to check it out and he said there were about two people, every year, who use Usually the existing tax guidance program has an 8% interest rate. We think there might be half a dozen people interested now that we’ve lowered the interest rate. “
Editor Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.