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DC Bill Would Exempt Seniors From Property Taxes

by UrbanTurf Staff

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It was part of her platform when she was running for DC’s At-Large City Council seat, and now Anita Bonds is making good on her promise.

The councilwoman recently introduced a bill that would exempt DC homeowners who are over the age of 75 and have lived in DC for at least 25 years from paying property taxes, DCist reported on Tuesday. The exemption would be limited to seniors making $60,000 a year or less.

From DCist:

As far as ensuring that the tax break only goes to people who meet the residency requirement, [Bonds’ spokesperson] David Meadows says people would sign an affidavit claiming they have been in D.C. for at least 25 years. “Let’s say it goes into effect in for 2014 taxes, which are filed in 2015,” Meadows says. “That’s 1990. Property tax records are on file.”

DC already has some tax relief in place for seniors. Once a city resident reaches the age of 65, they can file an application for “disabled or senior citizen property tax relief.” If the adjusted gross income of the household is less than $100,000, the property tax owed will be reduced by 50 percent.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_bill_would_exempt_senior_homeowners_from_property_taxes/7158

12 Comments

  1. Jason said at 3:21 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    My general problem with this is that statistically seniors are wealthier now than most younger people. Perhaps it should be new homeowners who should get tax relief?

    This is quite literally taking money from kid’s schools to give tax relief to older homeowners.

  1. Kristen said at 3:33 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Jason - I’m not sure that’s true of D.C. seniors.

    But I agree about schools. If seniors need tax relief it should NOT come at the expense of education!

  1. kob said at 3:56 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    This is bad policy. It will put pressure on other taxes, as well as property. It’s the senior living in rental housing that are probably more in need of help, in any respect. How does this help them? It doesn’t.

  1. Jay said at 3:58 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    There are a lot of city services that I don’t quite utilize at this point.  For instance fire protection…haven’t used it…it should come out of my taxes!  What about those seniors who are caring for their grand children, should they too not pay taxes.  Sticky sticky…

    I would agree with Jason that many more DC seniors are more flush with cash…many of the poor are not homeowners…

  1. mon said at 4:15 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Why don’t they include value of all assets in with that number. Senior could be sitting in house in Palisades worth 2 million with no mortgage and suddenly not have to pay taxes and have an income of <60k with good estate planning. Should they be exempt from paying taxes on that property? They aren’t exactly poor.

  1. saladman8283 said at 4:23 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Terrible idea.  More redistribution of wealth.  It’ll put more pressure on younger people/families and serve as a disincentive for them to buy in DC, and will create an incentive for non-property tax payers to move in.

  1. Justin S said at 4:24 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Letting underprivileged seniors over the age of 75 off on their taxes is fine, but using income as a qualifier for people in that age bracket is foolish enough to almost seem intentional misdirection.

    What people don’t want:

    Rich old people living in 6 million dollar homes getting off scott-free on giant tax bills.

    What people do want:

    Their 90 year old neighbor who lives in a dilapidated old 700sq ft row house getting a much-needed tax break.

    Using income won’t separate these two groups.

    However using THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY would. Do it the same as the homestead deduction: The first XX dollars of the tax bill get exempted for people over the age of 75 (and all other qualifiers). ...or make a maximum home value a qualification. either way.

  1. jj said at 4:56 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Justin, exactly how many rich old 75+ people with 6 million dollar houses have incomes less than $60,000? ZERO.  That’s just silly. There are some old folks on fixed income in 1.4 million dollar houses that they’ve lived in for half a century (like my former next door neighbor, who just passed) who probably would have benefited from this. She didn’t want to leave her home of 50 years that appreciated ridiculously over the last two decades.  Old folks shouldn’t have to leave their homes because of a tax burden.

  1. DD said at 5:24 pm on Wednesday June 5, 2013:

    Why does a zero tax burden make sense? They bought the house over 25 years ago, but it had a value then, maybe only 100k dollars for the now $1 million house, but it wasn’t zero. Can they not pay taxes on the value from 25 years ago? Seems to make more sense to cap tax assessed value not eliminate taxes.

    Also, the amount of taxes this would eliminate seems to be easily estimated. How much money are we talking about the city losing to be made up by everyone else?

  1. zcf said at 9:23 am on Thursday June 6, 2013:

    to JJ -

    It’s entirely possible for a senior with million dollar houses to have < $60K in income.  If you’re retired, your income would come from your retirement account.  Assuming you have $1M in your retirement account and you’re 70 years old, you’re only required to withdraw $44K from your account in 1 year (this year). 

    I’m sure you can do creative estate planning as well, to make it so that some of your other expenses are paid out of trusts.

    I think that this is a ridiculous plan.  Many people in DC don’t have net assets in the thousands, and this plan will force them to subsidize a person who is sitting on an asset worth millions.

  1. me said at 9:36 am on Thursday June 6, 2013:

    “Old folks shouldn’t leave their homes because of a tax burden.”

    It’s hard to feel sorry for a person with a large tax burden because their property is worth a lot of money.  (i.e. because they’re rich)

    Maybe Anita should spend her time on something more worthwile - fixing the injustice of forcing condo owners to pay for private trash removal even though they pay the same damned property taxes as everyone else.

  1. Adam L said at 9:50 pm on Friday June 7, 2013:

    @me 9:36

    Condo owners receive a rebate on their property taxes exactly because they pay for private trash collection.

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