Massachusetts has enacted several laws that allow elderly citizens to lower the amount of property tax they have to pay and/or defer the payment of these taxes during their lifetime. If you or a loved one is a Massachusetts resident over the age of 65, you may be eligible to lower your tax bills.
The Massachusetts elderly tax deferral allows an elderly homeowner to defer payment of his or her property taxes until the deferred tax amount reaches 50 percent of the then-assessed property value. These deferred taxes do not have to be paid until six months after the death of the homeowner or sale of the property. During the deferral period, the deferred tax amount incurs 8 percent interest annually, but cities and towns can elect a lower rate with some towns electing an interest rate of zero.
To be eligible, the applicant must be at least 65 years old, must have owned and occupied any property in Massachusetts for five years, and must have been a state resident for the previous ten years. There are no asset limitations to this deferral, but the senior’s income cannot exceed a certain amount depending on the town. Most towns use the state income qualifier of $20,000 to $40,000, but some have income limits of $70,000 or more. Check with your local Assessor’s Office.
In addition to this tax deferral, Massachusetts seniors may also be eligible for several tax exemptions which can substantially lower the amount of property tax they must pay. These exemptions typically have stricter asset restrictions and requirements vary depending on where you live. For information on applying for any of these tax benefits, you should contact a Massachusetts elder law attorney.