Apply for Property Tax Relief Programs Before 3/31

Though rising home values have generated more home equity for many property owners, they have created challenges for seniors on fixed incomes. Maybe you know an older friend or relative who is struggling to pay rising property taxes. If that’s the case, you need to know about State of Tennessee’s Property Tax Relief Program, which makes it easier for low-income elderly or disabled homeowners to age in place when living in a neighborhood where property values are increasing.

In the State of Tennessee’s Property Tax Relief Program, homeowners who meet the qualifications are reimbursed for some or all property taxes paid. In 2020, the maximum market value on which the tax relief is calculated is the first $29,000 of the primary residence for elderly and disabled homeowners, or $175,000 for disabled veterans or their widow(er)s. Homeowners opting for this program will need to apply when they receive their property tax bill. The deadline for applications is 35 days after the bill's due date. Taxes must be paid by this date.

In order to qualify for the Property Tax Relief Program, homeowners must be 65 by the end of the year in which they apply, or they must be a disabled homeowner, a disabled veteran homeowner, or the widow(er) of a disabled veteran homeowner. Applicants must own their home and use it as their primary residence. The maximum income for the applicant, his or her spouse, and all owners of the home is $30,700, as reported on your 2019 tax return. Disabled veterans or widow(er)s of disabled veteran applicants do not have an income limit. This brochure from the Tennessee Comptroller's office explains more.

Sumner County also offers a program that freezes property taxes on the homeowner’s primary residence. As long as the homeowner continues to qualify and applies annually, the amount owed for that property will not change even if property taxes increase. It’s important to note that the base tax amount may change for the homeowner when improvements are made to the property, resulting in an increase in value, and/or when the homeowner sells the primary property and purchases another residence. To qualify for Sumner County’s Property Tax Freeze Program, applicants must own their primary home and use it as their primary residence, be 65 by the end of the year in which they apply, and have an income that does not exceed $38,750, based on 2019 tax documents. The deadline to apply is March 31. Apply at the Sumner County Trustee’s Office in Gallatin. Bring your driver's license as proof of age and residence.

If you’re looking after an elderly loved one who still lives at home in Sumner County, these programs are definitely worth the time it will take to apply. And if your elderly loved one lives outside of Tennessee, take heart. Other states and counties offer similar programs. 

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