If you’re living on a fixed income or struggling to hold on to your home, you might be relieved to learn about property tax deferral programs.
Generally offered through state or local governments, these programs enable eligible homeowners to postpone paying part or all of their property taxes — for anywhere from one tax year to as long as they own the home, depending on the program.
Following are examples of states in which property tax deferral programs are available to older residents as well as certain other residents, such as blind and disabled people and veterans.
If your state is not mentioned but you want to know if it offers property tax deferral, start by inquiring with your local government agency that collects property taxes.
Just keep in mind that deferring property taxes is generally not free. In fact, it’s not unlike taking out a loan in that it effectively postpones your financial obligation to a later date, rather than waiving it. In the meantime, you will generally accrue interest.
In this regard, retirees who are looking to free up cash should look at property tax deferral programs similarly to how they consider a reverse mortgage. While the latter is ideal for certain retirees, it’s definitely not for others, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson details in “Should I Get a Reverse Mortgage?”
California’s Property Tax Postponement Program lets eligible seniors, as well as blind and disabled residents, defer current-year property taxes.
Note that for the 2020-2021 tax year, however, the application filing period is over except for residents of certain counties affected by wildfires. Those residents have until June 1 to apply.
Contact the California State Controller’s Office, which administers the program, or monitor its website for the application filing dates for the 2021-2022 tax year. The office notes that the funding for the program “is limited and distributed on a first come, first served basis.”
Age requirement: For the purpose of eligibility in its program, California defines “seniors” as those age 62 and older. Seniors must also meet other eligibility requirements, however, such as having an annual household income of $45,500 or less.
For more information: Visit the state controller’s “Property Tax Postponement” webpage.
Colorado has a property tax deferral program for eligible seniors as well as active military personnel. The state considers taxes deferred under this program much like a loan, explaining:
“The loan is logged as a lien against the participant’s property that does not have to be remitted until the participant no longer qualifies to defer their property taxes.”
Note that homeowners who qualify for the program must file an application with their county treasurer between Jan. 1 and April 1 of every year.
Age requirement: To be eligible for Colorado’s program based on age, you must be 65 or older. Applicants must also meet other eligibility requirements.
For more information: Visit the Colorado Department of the Treasury’s “Senior and Veteran Property-Tax Programs” webpage.
Idaho’s Property Tax Deferral Program is currently available to seniors and various other residents, including widows and widowers, among others. It lets them defer taxes until as late as when they leave their home, though the taxes and interest become a lien on their property until then.
Note that homeowners who wish to apply to the program for 2021 must do so between Jan. 1 and April 15.
Age requirement: To be eligible for Idaho’s program based on age, you must be at least 65 years old. Other eligibility requirements — including having a 2020 combined income of $46,488 or less — also apply.
For more information: Visit the Idaho State Tax Commission’s “Property Tax Deferral” webpage.
The Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Program in Illinois lets qualifying homeowners defer all or part of their property taxes and special assessments (up to a maximum of $5,000) until as late as when they leave their home. As the state explains it:
“The deferral is similar to a loan against the property’s market value. A lien is filed on the property in order to ensure repayment of the deferral. The state pays the property taxes and then recovers the money, plus 6 percent annual interest, when the property is sold or transferred.”
Age requirement: For the purpose of this program, Illinois defines “senior citizens” as people age 65 or older.
For more information: Contact your county treasurer’s office. To defer property taxes or special assessments, you must complete specific forms that you must request from that office, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue’s “Property Tax Relief – Homestead Exemptions” webpage (scroll down for the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Program).
Massachusetts state law allows cities and towns to grant property tax deferrals to qualifying seniors.
Note that applications are due on April 1, or three months after the actual tax bills are mailed — whichever is later.
Age requirement: You must be 65 or older and meet other eligibility requirements, some of which are detailed in the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s “Taxpayer’s Guide to Local Property Tax Deferrals.”
For more information: Contact your local assessors.
Michigan offers programs that enable eligible seniors and certain other residents to defer property taxes.
Note that deferment forms are due, to a resident’s city or township treasurer, before Sept. 15 or before the date a resident’s summer taxes are due — whichever is later.
Age requirement: To be eligible to defer summer property taxes based on age, you must be at least 62. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: Visit the Michigan Department of Treasury’s “Deferment of Property Taxes” webpage.
Minnesota’s property tax deferral program for seniors enables eligible residents to defer a portion of their taxes.
Note that the application deadline to defer property taxes for a given year is Nov. 1 of the prior year. So, apply by Nov. 1, 2021, to defer your taxes in 2022.
Age requirement: For the purpose of this program, Minnesota defines “senior citizen” as someone who is 65 or older. A married couple can qualify for the program if one spouse is 65 and the other is at least 62. Other eligibility requirements, including an income cap, also apply.
For more information: Visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s “Property Tax Deferral for Senior Citizens” webpage.
Oregon offers property tax deferral to eligible seniors as well as disabled homeowners.
Note that you must file an application with your county assessor’s office by April 15.
Age requirement: To qualify for Oregon’s program based on age, you must be at least 62. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: See the Oregon Department of Revenue’s “Oregon Property Tax Deferral for Disabled and Senior Citizens” handout.
Residents of Davidson County — home to Tennessee’s capital of Nashville — may be eligible for the county’s tax deferral program for seniors as well as disabled citizens. Tennessee also offers a property tax relief program and property tax freeze program to eligible residents, including seniors.
Age requirement: To be eligible for Davidson County’s program or either state program based on age, you must be at least 65. Other requirements also apply to each program.
For more information: Click on the links above.
Utah law allows for property tax abatement and deferrals for seniors, among others.
Age requirement: To be eligible for abatement or deferral based on age, you must be at least 65. Other eligibility requirements — including a 2020 income of less than $34,666 — also apply.
For more information: Call the number for your county that is listed at the end of the Utah State Tax Commission’s Publication 36.
Washington state offers a property tax deferral program for senior citizens and disabled persons.
Age requirement: To be eligible based on age, you must be at least age 61 by Dec. 31 of the year before the taxes are due. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: See the Washington Department of Revenue’s “Property Tax Exemption for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities” handout.
Wyoming offers a property tax deferral program for older homeowners as well as disabled homeowners. It is administered at the county level.
Note that the application deadline is Nov. 10 of the year taxes are levied.
Age requirement: To qualify based on age, you must be at least 62. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: Some eligibility details are available on the Wyoming Property Tax Division’s website. For further details pertinent to residents of your county, contact your county assessor’s office.
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