Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Help For Senior Citizens And Veterans In Paying Local Taxes


Pls note: The information here applies to all cities and towns in CT. Contact the Tax Assessors office in your community for more information.

At a recent public hearing in Derby, when the budget was passed and we received a 2.5 mill tax increase as a result of gross financial mismanagement by city officials, a number of senior citizens spoke of the impact such an increase would have on them and others living on fixed incomes. 
I was surprised that after these people voiced their concerns that when member of the current administration including the Mayor, Chief of Staff, Treasurer and President of the Board of Alderman rose to speak none, in compassion or out of empathy informed our seniors of a State of CT program that provides tax relief to Senior Citizens living on fixed incomes. 
The program is known as the Circuit Breaker or officially as the Elderly/Disabled (Circuit Breaker) Tax Relief Program. It’s been around for at least 40 years. It’s been changed and altered since its inception when it used to freeze the tax rate paid by seniors. It now provides a tax credit for those 65 and over provided they meet certain income requirements, which for those living on social security or other fixed income programs is very likely. 
Depending upon income, and marital status senior citizens can receive a tax credit for up to $1,250.
Details of the program will be reviewed at an informational meeting at the Derby Senior Center on Tuesday August 20th at 11:00 am for any interested in receiving more information.
Senior Citizens can also learn about the program from the State of CT website. There is a link to a Homeowner Question and Answer Booklet as well as the Application Form, which must be completed and submitted to the City Assessor biennially between February 1st and May 15th. 
While I am at it, I would also like to make sure our veterans and disabled veterans are aware of another similar State of CT program that provides local property tax relief. It is known as the Veterans’ Additional Exemption Tax Relief Program. It provides a $1,000 property tax exemption, which lowers the assessed value of the property, for certain honorably discharged veterans who actively served at least 90 days during war time, or their survivors. It also provides additional exemptions for those who are disabled. Those who additionally meet certain income guidelines can be eligible for exemptions totaling up to $2,000. 
Both state programs are underwritten by the State of CT and cost the City of Derby nothing. As a result I believe our elected officials should do their very best to make sure everyone in our city who can takes full advantage of these opportunities.

The writer is running on the Democratic ballot line for Derby City Treasurer.

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