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State program offers tax relief and tax freeze programs

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By PETER SAWYER

 The state is offering citizens who are struggling financially a break from property taxes through its tax relief and tax freeze programs.

The tax relief and tax freeze programs are based on the recipients’ income. Campbell County citizens who qualify should apply at the county trustee’s office. Applications are filled out in County Trustee Monty Bullock’s office, and then sent to Nashville where the decisions are made.

Nobody is approved until the state approves them.

Applicants can’t be signed up until they get their tax cards in the mail in October. Sign up begins in October. The deadline for completion is on April 5, 2013.

The tax relief

People who are 100 percent disabled, 65 and over or 100 percent disabled veterans injured in combat or with service related injuries qualify for the tax relief program.

The combined incomes of all those listed on the deed are tabulated, and if they are less than the maximum annual income, which was $26,830 for 2011 property taxes, the applicant qualifies for tax relief. Spouses’ incomes must be included even if their names aren’t on the deeds.

“Any source of income” counts, Bullock said. This includes Social Security, retirement, rental income, IRAs and annuity.

People with disabilities and people 65 and over qualified for up to a $110 discount on the 2011 property taxes. Disabled veterans qualified for up to a $770 discount on the 2011  property taxes.

Tax Freeze

The tax freeze program is for people 65 and older, and is based on annual income.

The income limit for 2011 was $26,830. This amount changes ever year. In 2012, the limit will be $26,830, based on 2011 income.

It freezes the amount people who qualify pay each year for property taxes. Their taxes stay the same, despite increases to the tax rate. 

“The assessment will change, but the taxes won’t,” Bullock said. “As long as you live there. Your taxes will stay the same.”

But the freeze only applies to up to five acres of the property. If a person owns 20 acres of property, the tax freeze program wouldn’t apply to 15 acres of it.

If a person in the program moves to a new home, its value will be assessed based on the current rate, and frozen from there.

“If they move, we sign them up on their new location,” Bullock said.

The same occurs if a person makes additions to a home.

If a person moves or completes an addition a home, it will be reassessed based on the current rate, and the amount paid will be frozen from there.