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Homestead Exemptions: Tax Breaks for Senior Citizens in Massachusetts

Homestead Exemptions: Tax Breaks for Senior Citizens in Massachusetts

Tax breaks for senior citizens in Massachusetts are plentiful, despite the "Taxachusetts" nickname.

Massachusetts is a state that is known for its quality education. However, since the schools are desirable, property taxes are higher than in many other states. Even though property value have fallen in the past few years, the taxes have not. The reason is because there is a big difference between "market value" and "assessed value." It is always in the interest of the tax collector to inflate the value of homes. Senior citizens living in these great small towns really feel the pinch in their wallet. Many are on fixed incomes and cannot justify their high property tax bills.

Even though it feels there is nothing you can do, there are actually many tax breaks available for senior citizens over 65 who own property in Massachusetts. Some tax credits are federal while other programs are specific to a town in Massachusetts. Some of the credits are described below:

1. Tax Deferral: Residents of Massachusetts that are over the age of 65 are allowed to defer their taxes at a five percent interest rate. You must live within the state borders for at least ten years and have owned your home for at least five years. Your income level must be less than $40,000 per year.

2. Tax Credits: There are several clauses just for seniors. Clause 41c is meant for residents over 65 and gives out $10,000 tax credits. A single person's income must be less than $23,718 and you cannot own more than $40,000 in assets. If a couple is married, you must earn less than $35,578 and own less than $55,000 in assets. You must live within the state borders for at least ten years and have owned your home for at least five years.

Clause 17d is a tax credit for veterans and spouses/widows of veterans. The exemption amount is $208.39. The veteran or spouse must be at least 70 years old. A child of a deceased veteran might also qualify for this tax credit if he owns the parent's property. One caveat is that the home's value cannot exceed $40,000, not counting the assessment value.

Clause 22 is also a tax credit for veterans and their spouses/widows. The veterans must have had a war-related disability and have been honorably discharged. The value for this tax credit ranges from $400-$1000.

Clause 37a is a tax credit for the blind. The amount does not exceed $500 and you must be a member of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

The Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is for those over the age of 65. Their property taxes must exceed ten percent of their yearly income to qualify for this credit, including sewer and water bills. The other requirements are that the residents must live in Massachusetts full time and earn less than $51,000 for single people and $77,000 for married couples who file jointly. Your assessed home value cannot exceed $788,000.

The Senior Work Off Program is for homeowners older than 60. You may be eligible to "work off" your tax bill by taking a job offered by your city. The pay is $8.00 an hour up to 93 hours. This program is offered in almost every town in Massachusetts.

To find more information about these tax credit programs for senior citizens living in Massachusetts, check out "Programs Available for Senior Citizens."

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