Help Could Be on the Way for Seniors With Skyrocketing Property Taxes

Finally, there’s good news for seniors who own their own homes and want to stay in JP. On Tuesday, Mayor Marty Walsh signed a “home rule petition” to give tax deferrals to long-term home owners. It could be part of a solution for some in the battle against rising property costs.

So how does this affect qualifying residents of JP? Well, if passed in the state legislature, qualifying long-term homeowners will be able to more easily afford remaining in their homes by deferring property taxes. The taxes will be postponed to a later date: until the home is for sale, the homeowner moves or until the death of the owner. And at the time of payment a 4 percent annual interest rate will kick in.

City Council President Bill Linehan, the District 2 representative who proposed the program along with At-Large Councilor Stephen Murphy, said that it will aid those who are “land rich but cash poor.”

The councilors will work with the state legislature on getting tax deferral passed and bringing it back home.

“Residents should know that they have options in the face of rising property taxes,” said Walsh in a statement.

The city already has a tax deferral program for people over 65.

According to the press release, to qualify for the new tax deferral, one must meet the following requirements:

  • Be aged 55 or older as of July 1 of the tax year
  • Have owned and lived in the home for at least 10 years as of July 1 of the tax year
  • Not have an income higher than the one set for the state’s senior “circuit breaker tax credit limit” for single seniors who are not heads of household.
  • Have real estate tax liability, as reduced by abatements, that exceeds the prior year real estate tax liability, as reduced by abatements, by 10% or more.
  • Submit a deferral application within 3 months after the date on which the 3rd quarter tax bill or notice of assessment was sent or by April 1 of the tax year, whichever is later.

It’s not a cinch that state lawmakers will okay the home rule petition. Each year towns and cities across the commonwealth put in for them only to see Beacon Hill say no.

[Editor’s note: We’re looking to do a follow up story. If you’re a senior who could be helped by this tax deferral program, please email Ashli Molina at molinash@bu.edu.]

See all of Ashli Molina’s coverage of rising rents and displacement in JP.