IMPROVING LYNNFIELD’S ELDERLY TAX CREDITS

Elderly Tax relief is becoming a hot topic, throughout the state. Several elderly residents have spoken with me about rising taxes and I think it’s time for Lynnfield to provide an improved tax benefit for our elderly residents. With Reading adopting a Senior Tax Break, some research was done to assist and help jumpstart the discussion of a tax credit for Lynnfield’s elderly homeowners.

Why? Why should we grant tax relief to the elderly?  They have worked hard their entire lives, paid into the system, and raised their children here.  The elderly constitute 18.8% of the Town.  They are a significant and vulnerable population.  The most deserving elderly should be granted some relief on moral grounds.  After all, the measure of a good society is judged by how its children and elderly are treated.

We can afford it. The Town has millions in retiring debt.  Much of this money will be committed to new building projects, but surely we can spend some of it on our qualifying seniors.  The state also reimburses the Town for qualifying tax credits.  The state will help fund the elderly tax credits and can do so at a much more generous level of funding.

The tax relief we give now is insufficient.  We give a credit of $500 to 18 seniors in town.  That credit is paltry compared to an average family property tax bill of $8,525 for this year. The criteria for the current tax credit are too exclusive.  To qualify, Seniors  must have less than $40,000 in assets in their possession.  The current credit is only available to those who make less than $7,000 after Social Security.  This current credit is so restrictive that we have seen a 50% decline in enrollment.

We have options. The state has allowed more generous options.  One choice would be to adjust the income limitations on the current credit.  We could even double the size of the credit to $1000.  Another alternative would be to adopt Clause 41C½ which has no asset limit and the income limits are fixed by the state.  Last year the state set the limit at $86,000 for married couples.  As long as we do not exceed the guidelines, the state will reimburse the town accordingly.

Adopting Clause 41C½ would have a real impact.  According to the most recent state numbers 284 people could qualify under the state formula.  However the state number is based on individual income tax returns, and does not account for the need to file property tax by household, so the number eligible is a little smaller.  Nonetheless that number is far greater than the 18 people under the current restrictive credit.  This could impact roughly $379,000 which could be abated to taxpayers , with the town receiving reimbursements from the state.  The current credit only abates $13,500 to Lynnfield’s tax payers.

  Current Credit (Clause 41C) Potential Clause 41C½
People Qualifying 18 284
Income Limits $7000, after deduction for Social Security $71,000 single person; $86,000 married
Asset Limits $40,000 for all possession No limit
Amount Abated to each House $500 5%-20% of the median assessed property value
Amount in play $13,500 $379,000 (est.)
*Default for 41C1/2: must own here for min. 10 years and  70 years old by

July 1 of filing year.

   
   

 

  Current Credit (Clause 41C) Potential Clause 41C½
People Qualifying 18 284
Income Limits $7000, after deduction for Social Security $71,000 single person; $86,000 married
Asset Limits $40,000 for all possession No limit
Amount Abated to each House $500 5%-20% of the median assessed property value
Amount in play $13,500 $379,000 (est.)
*Default for 41C1/2: must own here for min. 10 years and  70 years old by

July 1 of filing year.

   
     

 

As Lynnfield residents, it is time to ask ourselves what priority our elderly have with so many future demands on our tax dollars. This may not be the elderly tax credit the town adopts, but it will start the discussion on what kind of tax relief our qualifying seniors will or should receive.  I hope you have found this information useful and look forward to supporting our town boards as they solidify improved Elderly Tax Credits for Lynnfield’s deserving Elderly homeowners.

 

Respectfully,

Katy Shea

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: