MAYOR SARNO ANNOUCES PROPOSED EXPANDED PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR QUALIFYING SENIOR CITIZENS
December 16, 2009 – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that he has submitted a proposal, which if adopted by the Springfield City Council, will expand property tax relief to qualifying senior citizens. The plan would bring more households into eligibility by raising the limits on income and assets for homeowners to receive the $500 exemption. In addition, the qualifications for the $175 exemption will be broadened so households that don’t qualify for the $500 relief might be eligible for the lesser amount.
Last year, the City increased the income and asset limits for exemptions. Mayor Sarno’s current proposal would raise further the limits with the intention of offering relief to even more households. As part of that process, the City remained cognizant of the costs of additional relief as well as the constraints of state law. State law prescribes how homeowners qualify for relief under specific criteria concerning age, financial condition, years of occupancy, and form of ownership. Mayor Sarno’s proposal includes the following:
- Seniors must be 70 years of age as of July 1, 2009;
- To save $175, total assets including bank accounts, investments, and car must be less than $40,000 (excluding the value of house);
- To save $500, qualified married senior homeowners would have assets of less than $35,000 (up from $30,000) and annual income of less than $18,000 (up from $15,000) after deducting $6,237 (up from $5,895) for social security. Single or widowed homeowners who are eligible would have assets of less than $31,000 (up from $28,000) and yearly income of less than $15,000 (up from $13,000) after deducting $4,158 (up from $3,930) for Social Security;
- Seniors who do not qualify for the $500 tax relief, may qualify for $175 of relief if assets are less than $40,000. There are no limitations on annual income.
“At a time of growing financial burdens for all homeowners, most especially our seniors who are retired and living on limited budgets, it is important to offer appropriate assistance to those who are most vulnerable,” stated Sarno. “I want to reduce the anxiety and pressure our senior homeowners feel as they try to cope with rising household costs. This is a priority always, but more so as the economy declines,” Sarno said.
The City’s Assessors office points out that this initiative relates to relief on the amount a taxpayer is billed, not the manner or schedule in which they are paid. Tax bills are sent out on a quarterly basis. State law is very rigid and specific regarding payment of taxes and interest due on delinquent amounts. The City receives State reimbursement for these abatements.
City residents can contact 3-1-1 for additional information on abatements.