The Senate Property Tax Division considered its first bill to lower property taxes for homeowners this week – a DFL bill that would make it easier for seniors to take advantage of the Senior Citizen Property Tax Deferral program. The existing program allows homeowners who are over the age of 65, have owned their home for at least 15 years, and have household incomes of less than $60,000 to defer a portion of their property taxes. Under the rules, homeowners pay three percent of their household income toward property taxes and the state pays the remainder as a loan. That loan – with interest – is due when the property is sold, or the homeowner exits the program.
The bill heard this week would reduce the ownership requirement to five years and increase the maximum income eligibility to $96,000. Proponents of the bill say the changes will provide more senior citizens another option to remain in their homes amidst rapidly increasing home values and the property tax increases that come with them. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the division report. (SF 3184)
More information on the deferral program is available on the Department of Revenue’s website: https://www.revenue.state.mn.us/property-tax-deferral-senior-citizens. Seniors must apply by November 1 to defer property taxes for the following year. The website provides both an online and U.S. mail option to submit an application.