Substitute Senate Bill No. 1054

Public Act No. 99-89

An Act Concerning Minor Changes Related to The Office of Policy and Management and Providing Technical Corrections Affecting Property Assessment.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 12-61 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The assessor or board of assessors of any municipality, having obtained the approval of the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, shall have authority to use any special assessment form [or forms] in lieu of any form prescribed by the secretary. In the event of such approval of any special form, such assessor or board shall not be required to use any general form prescribed by [law] the secretary for which such special form is a substitute. No special form shall be approved by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management unless all the information which would be available on the general form is also available thereon. The [Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management] secretary may, at any time, rescind [his] approval of any special form and the regular form required by law shall be used in such municipality beginning with its next succeeding assessment date, unless in the interim another special form has been approved. [by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.]

Sec. 2. Section 12-81g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Effective for the assessment year commencing October 1, 1985, and each assessment year thereafter, any person entitled to an exemption from property tax in accordance with subdivision (19), (20), (21), (22), (23), (24), (25) or (26) of section 12-81, reflecting any increase made pursuant to the provisions of section 12-62g, shall be entitled to an additional exemption from such tax in an amount equal to twice the amount of the exemption provided for such person pursuant to any such subdivision, provided such person's qualifying income does not exceed the applicable maximum amount as provided under section 12-81l, except that if such person has a disability rating of one hundred per cent as determined by the Veterans' Administration of the United States, the total of such adjusted gross income, individually, if unmarried, or jointly, if married, in the calendar year ending immediately preceding the assessment date with respect to which such additional exemption is allowed, is not more than twenty-one thousand dollars if such person is married or not more than eighteen thousand dollars if such person is not married.

(b) Effective for the assessment year commencing October 1, 1986, and each assessment year thereafter, any person entitled to an exemption from property tax in accordance with subdivision (19), (20), (21), (22), (23), (24), (25) or (26) of section 12-81, reflecting any increase made pursuant to the provisions of section 12-62g, and who is not receiving or is not eligible to receive the additional exemption under subsection (a), shall be entitled to an additional exemption from such tax in an amount equal to one-half of the amount of the exemption provided for such person pursuant to any such subdivision.

(c) The state shall reimburse each town, city, borough, consolidated town and city and consolidated town and borough by the last day of each calendar year in which exemptions were granted to the extent of the revenue loss represented by the additional exemptions provided for in subsections (a) and (b).

(d) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, establishing: (1) A procedure under which a municipality shall determine eligibility for the additional exemption under subsection (a) of this section, provided such procedure shall include a provision that when an applicant has filed for such exemption and received approval for the first time, such applicant shall be required to file for such exemption biennially thereafter, subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section; (2) the manner in which a municipality shall apply for reimbursement from the state for the revenue loss represented by the additional exemptions provided for in subsections (a) and (b), which shall provide a penalty for late filing of such application for reimbursement of two hundred fifty dollars but shall also provide that the secretary may waive such forfeiture in accordance with procedures and standards contained in such regulations; and (3) the manner in which the Office of Policy and Management may audit and make adjustments to applications for reimbursement from municipalities for a period of not more than one year next succeeding the deadline for such application.

(e) Any person aggrieved by action of the assessor or board of assessors in disapproving any application for an additional veteran's exemption from property tax, as provided under this section, may appeal to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in writing, within thirty days following receipt of notice of denial of such exemption by the assessor or board of assessors. The secretary shall promptly consider such appeal and may approve or disapprove the application, provided such decision shall be made not later than sixty days following receipt of such written notice of appeal. Notice of the secretary's determination regarding the appeal shall be sent to the claimant in writing and a copy shall be forwarded to the assessor or board of assessors. If the claimant is aggrieved with respect to any action of the secretary under this section, such claimant may, within thirty days, appeal to the superior court for the judicial district in which such application is filed. Any claimant who, for the purpose of obtaining such additional veteran's exemption under this section, wilfully fails to disclose all matters related thereto or with intent to defraud makes any false statement shall forfeit the right to claim such additional veteran's exemption.

(f) Any person who has submitted application and been approved in any year for the additional exemption under subsection (a) of this section shall, in the year immediately following approval, be presumed to be qualified for such exemption. If, in the year immediately following approval, such person has qualifying income in excess of the maximum allowed under said subsection (a), such person shall notify the tax assessor in the town allowing the additional exemption on or before the next filing date for such exemption and shall be denied such exemption for the assessment year immediately following and for any subsequent year until such person has reapplied and again qualified for such exemption. Any person who fails to notify the tax assessor of such disqualification shall make payment to the town in the amount of property tax loss related to the exemption improperly taken. Not more than thirty days after discovering such person's ineligibility for the exemption, the assessor shall send written notification of such person's identity to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. If any payment was remitted under subsection (c) of this section with respect to a period for which such person was not eligible for the exemption, the amount of the next payment made to the town shall be reduced by the amount of payment made erroneously.

Sec. 3. Subsection (d) of section 12-107f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(d) An application for exemption from state or municipal assessments for improvements or betterments shall be made upon a form prescribed by the [Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management] Commissioner of Agriculture and shall set forth the current status of the determination of deductibility under the applicable sections of the Internal Revenue Code, a description of the land, a general description of the current use of such land, and such other information as said authority may require to aid in determining whether such land qualifies for such exemption.

Sec. 4. Subsection (b) of section 12-129b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) The tax on the real property for which the benefits under this section are claimed shall be calculated by multiplying the assessed value, less one thousand dollars, of said property for the year 1966 or for any subsequent year in which the taxpayer first files and has approved a claim under this section and section 12-129c, by the applicable mill rate of that year for the general property tax, exclusive of any special tax levy, except that, if such property is located in more than one town, the tax payable to the town of the taxpayer's voting residence shall be so calculated and the tax payable to the other town or towns in which such property is located shall be calculated by multiplying the assessed value of said property for the year 1968 or for any subsequent year in which a taxpayer first files and has approved a claim under this section and section 12-129c by the applicable mill rate of such general property tax of that year. If title to real property is recorded in the name of the person or [his] the spouse making a claim and qualifying under said sections and any other person or persons, the claimant hereunder shall be entitled to pay [his] the claimant's fractional share of the tax on such property calculated in accordance with the provisions of this section, and such other person or persons shall pay [his or their] the person's or persons' fractional share of the tax without regard for the provisions of said sections. [Any taxpayer in a municipality changing to a uniform fiscal year shall have his benefits calculated in accordance with section 12-129h.] For the purposes of this section, a "mobile manufactured home", as defined in section 12-63a, shall be deemed to be real property.

Sec. 5. Section 12-129n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Any municipality may, by vote of its legislative body on recommendation of its board of finance or equivalent body, provide property tax relief to residents of such municipality, with respect to real property owned and occupied by such residents as their principal residence, [by residents of such municipality] who are (1) sixty-five years of age and over, or whose spouses, living with them, are sixty-five years of age or over or sixty years of age or over and the surviving spouse of a taxpayer qualified in such municipality under this section at the time of his or her death or with respect to real property on which such residents or their spouses are liable for taxes under section 12-48, or (2) under age sixty-five and eligible in accordance with applicable federal regulations to receive permanent total disability benefits under Social Security, or have not been engaged in employment covered by Social Security and accordingly have not qualified for benefits thereunder, but have become qualified for permanent total disability benefits under any federal, state or local government retirement or disability plan, including the Railroad Retirement Act and any government-related teacher's retirement plan, in which requirements with respect to qualifications for such permanent total disability benefits are comparable to such requirements under Social Security, provided such residents or their spouses under subdivisions (1) or (2) above have been taxpayers of such municipality for one year immediately preceding their receipt of tax benefits under this section, and meet the requirements which may be established by such municipality with respect to maximum income allowable during the calendar year preceding the year in which application is made for the tax relief provided in this section. No such property tax relief, together with any relief received by any such resident under the provisions of sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, [12-129h,] and 12-170aa shall exceed, in the aggregate the total amount of the tax which would, except for said sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, [12-129h,] 12-170aa and this section, be laid against the taxpayer.

(b) Prior to initial approval by the legislative body of such municipality of the plan of property tax relief to be provided pursuant to the provisions of this section, the executive authority of such municipality shall appoint a committee consisting of not less than five resident taxpayers of such municipality, which shall undertake and complete within a period not in excess of sixty days following such appointment, a study and investigation with respect to such property tax relief and, on the basis thereof, prepare a report to be presented to the board of finance or equivalent body of such municipality, which report shall include the following: (1) The fiscal effect of such property tax relief on property tax revenue for such municipality; (2) recommendations with respect to the form and extent of such property tax relief. After the initial approval of such property tax relief by the legislative body of such municipality, such plan may be amended from time to time by vote of its legislative body on recommendation of its board of finance or equivalent body without compliance with the requirements of this subsection applicable to such initial approval.

(c) The total abatement of property tax revenue, based on an estimate in any tax year by the board of finance or equivalent body of such municipality, which may be granted in such tax year by such municipality pursuant to the provisions of this section shall not exceed an amount equal to ten per cent of the total real property tax assessed in such municipality in the preceding tax year.

(d) Any such property tax relief granted to any such resident in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not disqualify such resident with respect to any benefits for which such resident shall be eligible under the provisions of sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, [12-129h] and 12-170aa, and any such property tax relief provided under this section shall be in addition to any such benefits for which such resident shall be eligible under said sections.

(e) Reimbursement of such municipality under the provisions of sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, [12-129h, 12-129i] and 12-170aa shall be limited to such amount as the municipality would be entitled to receive for revenues lost because of tax relief provided under the provisions of said sections. The property tax relief provided for in this section may, in any case where title to real property is recorded in the name of the taxpayer or his or her spouse and any other person or persons, be prorated to reflect the fractional share of such taxpayer or spouse or, if such property is a multiple-family dwelling, such relief may be prorated to reflect the fractional portion of such property occupied by the taxpayer.

(f) Any municipality providing property tax relief under this section may establish a lien on such property in the amount of the relief granted, provided if the total amount of such property tax relief with respect to any such taxpayer, when combined with any such tax relief for which such taxpayer may be eligible in accordance with sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, [12-129h] or 12-170aa, exceeds in the aggregate seventy-five per cent of the property tax for which such taxpayer would be liable but for the benefits under this section and any of the sections mentioned above in this subsection, such municipality shall be required to establish a lien on such property in the amount of the total tax relief granted, plus interest applicable to the total of such unpaid taxes at a rate to be determined by such municipality. Any such lien shall have a priority in the settlement of such person's estate.

(g) (1) Any municipality establishing a program of property tax relief under this section shall make persons eligible for such relief if they qualify in accordance with age and income pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and are unit owners of a cooperative.

(2) The amount of annual property tax relief in accordance with this subsection to any such person shall be determined in relation to an assumed amount of property tax liability applicable to the assessed value for the dwelling unit which such person owns and occupies, as determined by the assessor in the municipality in which the cooperative is situated. Annually, not later than the first day of June, the assessor in such municipality, upon receipt of an application for such relief, shall determine, with respect to the assessment list in such municipality for the assessment year commencing October first immediately preceding, the portion of the assessed value of the entire cooperative, as included in such assessment list, attributable to the dwelling unit occupied by such person. The assumed property tax liability for purposes of determining the amount of the relief shall be the product of such assessed value and the mill rate in such municipality as determined for purposes of property tax imposed on said assessment list for the assessment year commencing October first immediately preceding. The amount of relief to which such person shall be entitled for such assessment year shall be equivalent to the amount of tax reduction for which such person would qualify, considering such assumed property tax liability to be the actual property tax applicable to such person's dwelling unit and such person as liable for the payment of such tax.

Sec. 6. Subsection (b) of section 12-129o of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) [Sections 12-129d and 12-129i] Section 12-129d shall not be applicable with respect to tax relief provided by any municipality in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 7. Section 12-129p of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 12-129b to [12-129i] 12-129d, inclusive, if the amount of tax benefit calculated in accordance with said sections and provided thereunder for any homeowner qualified for the program of tax relief under said sections is equivalent to two thousand dollars or more in the assessment year commencing October 1, 1985, such benefit shall not, in any subsequent assessment year exceed the amount of such benefit to which such homeowner was entitled for said assessment year commencing October 1, 1985, and additionally, if the amount of such tax benefit for any homeowner so qualified is less than two thousand dollars in the assessment year commencing October 1, 1985, the amount of such homeowner's benefit shall not, in any subsequent assessment year, exceed two thousand dollars.

(b) In any municipality which, as of July 6, 1987, has deferred any part of the amount of increased assessed value of real property pursuant to subsection (e) of section 12-62a, the maximum benefit to which any homeowner shall be entitled pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be the amount to which such homeowner is entitled pursuant to sections 12-129b to [12-129i] 12-129d, inclusive, in the first assessment year in which no deferral of assessed value occurs, and no maximum benefit shall be imposed in any year prior to such first assessment year in which no deferral occurs.

Sec. 8. Section 12-504d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Any person aggrieved by the imposition of a tax under the provisions of sections 12-504a to 12-504f, inclusive, may appeal therefrom as provided in sections [12-111, 12-112 and 12-118] 12-111 and 12-112.

Sec. 9. Sections 12-71a, 12-72, 12-129h and 12-129i of the general statutes are repealed.

Sec. 10. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved June 3, 1999

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