House Approves Senior Property Tax Exemption Bill

BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill this week that would allow towns to give means-based property tax relief to seniors.

The bill aims to help keep seniors on fixed incomes in their homes.

The relief would be based on the amount of tax credit residents were able to receive the previous year through the state’s Senior Circuit Breaker program. The actual amount of the tax exemption would be set annually by the local governing body.

Centerville State Rep Will Crocker says seniors face the pressure of trying to manage their households on a fixed income and that a property tax break can ease that burden.

The bill is modeled after similar tax relief programs offered in Reading, Sudbury and Wayland.

Participation is limited to homeowners who are 65 or older, and have resided in the community for at least 10 consecutive years. If a tax exemption request is filed jointly, the second applicant must be 60 or older, and at least one of the applicants must meet the minimum residency requirement of 10 consecutive years.

Seniors must file annually to receive the exemption, which is subject to approval by the local Board of Assessors. The Board can deny an exemption if it determines the applicant has excessive assets.

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