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 the disabled, veterans, or widows and widowers.
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 — at a rate as high as 7 percent per year, as is currently the case in California.
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 “Ask Stacy: 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 on their principal residence.
Note that for the 2018-2019 tax year, however, the application filing period is over except for residents of certain counties affected by fires or floods. 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 2019-2020 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 62 and older. Seniors must also meet other eligibility requirements, however, such as having an annual household income of $35,500 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.
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.
Note that homeowners who wish to apply to the program for 2019 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 income level 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.
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 to near the end).
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 board of assessors regarding the local eligibility requirements and application process.
Michigan offers programs that enable eligible seniors and certain other residents, such as those who are permanently and totally disabled, to defer property taxes and special assessments.
Age requirement: To be eligible to defer summer property taxes based on age, you must be at least 62. To be eligible to defer special assessments based on age, you must be at least 65. For both programs, other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: Visit the Michigan Department of Treasury’s “Property Tax Deferment” webpage.
Minnesota’s Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral Program enables eligible residents to defer a good portion of their taxes.
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 such as income limits also apply.
For more information: Visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s “Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program” webpage.
Oregon offers property tax deferral to eligible seniors as well as disabled homeowners. To defer your 2019-2020 taxes, you must file your completed 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: Visit the Oregon Department of Revenue’s “Deferral programs” webpage.
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 the disabled. Tennessee also offers a property tax relief program and property tax freeze program to eligible residents.
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 as well as homeowners who “can demonstrate a disability or extreme hardship.”
Age requirement: To be eligible for abatement or deferral based on age, you must be at least 65. Other eligibility requirements 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. This program allows you to defer payment of property taxes and special assessments for the current year and delinquent years.
Age requirement: To be eligible based on age, you must be at least 61 by Dec. 31 of the year before the taxes are due. Other eligibility requirements also apply.
For more information: Check the Washington Department of Revenue webpage on the program or contact your county assessor’s office.
Wyoming offers a property tax deferral program for older homeowners as well disabled homeowners. It is administered at the county level.
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.
Have you ever taken advantage of a property tax deferral program, or would you consider doing so? Share your thoughts by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.