June 1, 2012
SCHOOL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF FOR SENIORS
By: Rute Pinho, Associate Analyst
In states like Connecticut, where municipalities levy property taxes for general government and education purposes, you wanted to know if any authorize municipalities to (1) split the tax bill between the general government and education portions of the budget and (2) exempt seniors from paying the education tax bill.
We found no state that allows towns to split their property tax bills and exempt seniors from the portion of the bill that supports the education budget. But in some states, municipalities and school districts are separate jurisdictions levying property taxes only for their purposes. Consequently, taxpayers pay property taxes to the municipality for general government and the school district for education. Some of these states authorize tax relief for seniors against school district property taxes.
Delaware allows local school boards to offer property owners age 65 or older a credit against the school property taxes assessed on their primary residences. The credit amount is the lesser of (1) 50% of the taxes due after applying other eligible tax exemptions and (2) $500 (Del. Code Ann. Tit. 14 § 1917).
New York provides qualifying homeowners with partial exemptions from school property taxes, with an increased benefit for seniors age 65 and older with combined incomes of up to $79,050. For qualifying seniors, it exempts the first $62,200 of the full value of the home from school taxes (N.Y. Real Property Tax Law § 425 (McKinney)).
Georgia offers a school property tax exemption for homeowners age 62 or older whose household income is $10,000 or less (excluding certain retirement income). Eligible applicants receive a $10,000 exemption from the assessed value of their primary residence for property taxes levied by any school district (GA. Code Ann. § 48-5-52).
Texas freezes school district taxes once a homeowner reaches age 65. The freeze also applies to surviving spouses who are at least age 55. It does not include the value of any additions or improvements made to the property (Tex. Tax Code Ann. § 11.26 (West)).