Tax relief for seniors, disabled

Published 7:08 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Real estate tax relief for disabled or senior citizens now is available to Suffolk residents.

People age 65 or older, or those who are totally disabled, can apply between Jan. 1 and June 30. Relief is granted on an annual basis, and a new application must be filed each year.

Applicants must be 65 years old or older, or be permanently and totally disabled. The age requirement applies to the owner whose name appears on the property deed. A spouse may be under the age of 65. There is no age requirement for disabled residents, but proof must be established.

Applicants must own or partially own the property to be exempted. The combined gross income of owners and any relatives living in the property cannot exceed $54,242. The first $10,000 of a relative’s income is exempted. The applicant’s net worth, besides the home and up to 10 acres of land surrounding it, cannot exceed $243,101.

The tax relief is provided on a sliding scale. Applicants with combined income up to $41,479 will receive 100 percent of their tax relieved. Those with income $41,480 to $47,861 will receive 50 percent off their tax bill. People with income between $47,862 and $54,242 will get 25 percent of their taxes relieved.

Income includes wages, Social Security, annuities, pensions, disability income, interest, farm income and more. Examples of resources that count toward net worth include real estate other than the residence, bank accounts, trusts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, cash value of life insurance policies and the value of personal property such as automobiles.

To apply, call the Department of Social Services at 514-4870 or e-mail taxrelief@city.suffolk.va.us. Applicants should gather all documentation regarding income and resources, and must sign an affidavit confirming the accuracy of the information before the application will be approved. If approved, relief will be applied to real estate bills due Dec. 5 and June 5 of the following year.