Tax Relief for the Elderly

Here is my proposal for a tax relief policy for elderly residents of Hartford. Some think the courts would interpret this as a personal exemption not permitted under state law.


Elderly Tax Relief Policy

A. It shall be the policy of the Town of Hartford to defray collection of property taxes from homeowners whose household income makes them eligible for state education property tax adjustment under 32 V.S.A. § 6066 a. 1. C and providing they also meet the section B requirements and obtain the approval of the Town Manager. Such defrayed taxes, plus annual interest charges and administrative fees, shall instead create a first lien on the property as described in 32 V.S.A. § 5061.
B. Qualification and Application
In order to qualify, the homeowner must
  1. reside in a registered housesite as defined by 32 V.S.A. § 6061 11.
  2. have continuously owned taxable residential property in the town for at least 3 years
  3. the sum of the homeowners age at their next birthday plus the years of ownership defined in B.2 is 75 or greater
  4. the assessed value of the property minus all liens upon it is greater than 20 times the amount being defrayed
  5. make application to the town providing such information as the town deems necessary to evaluate the request on a form of the town’s design
  6. Upon receiving the approval of the application, sign and execute such documents as the town deems necessary to secure its ability to collect the defrayed taxes, interest, and fees
C. Program Design
  • The town manager is directed to develop a program which implements this policy. The target effective date will be July 1, 2013.
  • The Selectboard shall be presented with a draft versions of rules for
  1. determining interest rate,
  2. fees,
  3. application form,
  4. legal documents to establish liens, and
  5. opinion letters from the town’s attorney and the Vermont Dept of Taxation approving or acquiescing in the policy implementation details,
  • Draft program materials shall be presented to the Selectboard as soon as possible for discussion and review, but in no case later than March 22, 2013.
D. Implementation
The policy shall become effective upon Selectboard approval of the program package described in section C.


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