Enrollment begins for tax relief

Published 10:19 pm Monday, January 12, 2009

The annual enrollment period for a tax relief program for senior citizens and the disabled has begun, and Suffolk’s Department of Social Services is coordinating the application process.

The program provides income-based tax relief for individuals who are older than 65 or totally disabled. The signup period began Jan. 1 and ends June 30 for relief on real estate tax bills due in December 2009 and June 2010.

Tax relief is granted annually, and participants must re-apply or recertify every year to qualify, according to a city news release announcing the program.


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Basic requirements for the program are as follows:

4Applicants must be 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled.

4Applicants must be at least partial owners of the property to be exempted, and they must live there.

4The combined gross income of owners and any relatives living in the property cannot exceed $51,659, excluding the first $10,000 of a relative’s income.

4An applicant’s net worth, exclusive of the home and up to 10 acres upon which it is built, cannot exceed $231,525.

4Applications must be filed no later than June 30 of the taxable year.

The percentage of tax relief that will be allowed is based on the combined income of the owners and any relatives living in the property, excluding up to $10,000 per relative living there.

Households with up to $39,504 of adjusted total income would earn a tax break of 100 percent; those earning up to $45,582 would get a break of 50 percent; and those earning up to $51,659 would get a 25-percent break.

Examples of income include wages, Social Security, annuities, pensions, disability income, interest, dividends, business income, farm income, income from rental property and income from roomers and boarders.

Also, the applicant’s net worth is limited to $231,525, excluding his home and up to 10 acres upon which it is situated. Among the things included in the net worth calculation would be real estate other than the residence, bank accounts, trusts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, cash value of life insurance policies and the value of automobiles and other person property.

To apply for the program, call the Department of Social Services at 514-4870 to discuss the application or recertification process. Applicants also can email the department at taxrelief@city.suffolk.va.us requesting a reply.

An applicant must supply documentation about his income and resources and sign an affidavit confirming the accuracy of all information.