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What is a property tax exemption for seniors, and how to get one?

Portrait of a female pensioner in round glasses holding a pen and a document in her hands

Many senior citizens are eligible for a property tax exemption if they are 65 years old and own and occupy their property as their primary place of residence. This does not mean you will stop paying taxes altogether, but will likely help reduce them. The way to get this exemption depends on your home state, and in order to get any relief, you might need the help of a financial advisor.

Property tax exemptions for seniors

This program allows people in their 60s and older to pay less taxes because property taxes increase over time, but their incomes may not. The trickiest part is that a state or a county does not let you know if you are eligible for a break, but you need to determine whether you qualify. You need to reapply annually.

An example of tax relief for seniors

If your home’s value were frozen five years ago, when it was estimated to be worth 250k, you would still pay taxes on that amount despite the property’s worth going up and now being estimated at 300k. These numbers are only an example, varying from state to state, which is why a property tax calculator is used, and you might want to hire a professional.

State-by-state cases

Some seniors might be making too much money to be included in senior tax exemption. When it comes to age,  New York, Texas, and Massachusetts require seniors to be 65 or older, but in Washington, you could be eligible after turning 61. In New Hampshire, you benefit from an increased exemption as you age.

Some states/counties are more generous than others

For New Yorkers, the senior tax exemptions could mean paying 50 percent of your home’s estimated value. In Washington, you get a deduction if you are 61 or older and have a household income of less than $35,000. If you want to tackle this issue on your own, you can start by checking online about the situation in your state because the rules vary drastically. Applying is easy; you need to provide basic information about your age and, if you are eligible, a document proving your identity.

Other property tax exemptions that work in a similar manner

Apart from having limited income and being of a certain age, tax exemptions work in a similar way for some veterans and people with disabilities. For people with disabilities, one must have to prove their condition bars them from working. Veterans with disability ratings of 80% may also get tax exemptions.

The bottom line regarding property tax relief for seniors

Since this is not solved on the federal level, you need to check what your county or state has to say about potential deductions or exemptions and whether you qualify. Even if some of the listed examples do not apply to your situation, they are merely illustrations and do not reflect the laws in your living area. You can still contact your county office if you cannot find online resources to remove any doubts and determine whether you are overpaying your property taxes.

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