Help for Older Adults with Taxes and Rent
~ By Eileen Doherty, MS ~
Denver, Colo. — The high cost of housing continues to be burdensome for older adults, especially those who live on a limited income. As more baby boomers retire and live on Social Security as their main source of income, the cost of housing is the most costly expense.
The Colorado legislature has approved the Senior Property Tax Exemption for seniors age 65 and over who have lived in the same house for the past 10 years. The Senior Property Tax Exemption provides for a 50% reduction in the property taxes for the first $200,000 of value. The property is taxed at full value over $200,000.
Thus if an elder lives in their home that is valued at $185,000 and the annual property taxes are $1200, they would pay $600, regardless of income. However, if a senior lives in a home valued at $500,000 and pays $3500 in property tax, the Exemption of 50% would apply to the first $200,000 of value with the property being taxed at full rate for the balance of $300,000.
Any senior who owns their own home and has lived there for 10 years or more is able to apply. Forms may be obtained from the County Assessor’s office and must be mailed in prior to July 1, 2015. If an individual has previously applied for the Exemption, it is not necessary to apply again. Surviving spouses are eligible to continue to receive the Exemption even if they are under age 65. If an individual moves to a new residence the Exemption is lost.
Senator John Kefalas, D- Fort Collins led the initiative in the Colorado legislature to increase both the income and the amount of the property tax/rent/heat credit starting in 2015 for expenses incurred in 2014. To be eligible the individual must be a Colorado Resident and receive less than $12,720 per year ($17,146 for a couple) and be 65 years old or a surviving spouse at least 58 years old or disabled for all of 2014.
The grant is available to property owners as well as renters who do not live in “non-profit” or “subsidized” housing. Individuals who live in non-profit or subsidized housing are eligible for the heat credit, but not the rent credit.
The maximum amount of the full grant was increased to $892 and the minimum grant was set at $300 unless you are applying for the heat credit only which is $73. Individuals must file the PTC 104 form and submit to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Forms are available from the Colorado Department of Revenue. Forms are available and may be submitted to the Department of Revenue or online at Revenue Online at the Department’s website and must be submitted prior to December 31, 2016.
Individuals who did not apply for the 2013 PTC 104 rebate and meet the income qualifications may apply until December 31, 2015.
Sometimes individuals are faced with making the decision to “not pay their property taxes” because they do not have money. The Senior Property Tax Deferral program is available those age 65 and over who live in their own home and whose property taxes from previous years are paid in full. If the property has a mortgage, the mortgage lender must agree to place the State of Colorado in first position on the lien.
To apply for a Property Tax Deferral, the individual must file an application between January 1 and April 1 each year with the county treasurer’s office. The State of Colorado will pay the county for the property taxes each year the application is made with the county treasurer. Interest is charged by the State of Colorado. When the property is sold, the tax lien will be paid and a clear title can be presented to the new buyer.
Some counties and municipalities, such as Denver County, also offer tax and rent rebate programs.
For copies of forms and assistance to complete the forms, call 303-333-3482 or 1-855-880-4777.
For more information on Social Security or Medicare, call 303-333-3482.
Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society since 1982. She has almost 40 years of experience in education and training, advocacy, clinical practice, and research in the field of gerontology. She is an adjunct instructor at Fort Hays State University teaching non-profit management. She can be reached at 303-333-3482 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.