The state constitution authorizes the general assembly to lower the maximum amount of the actual residential value of residential real property that is subject to the senior property tax exemption (exemption). Section 3 of the bill lowers the maximum amount to $0 for all property tax years beginning on and after January 1, 2020, which has the effect of eliminating the exemption. It does not affect the property tax exemption for disabled veterans. Under section 4 , a county assessor is no longer required to mail notices to seniors about the exemption, and under section 5 , an assessor is not required to accept applications or otherwise administer the exemption unless and until the general assembly enacts legislation to increase the maximum actual value of residential real property that is subject to the exemption. If the exemption is made available in the future, seniors must reapply for it.
Section 6 creates an income tax credit that is available for 10 tax years beginning on January 1, 2020, for a qualifying senior. A qualifying senior must be 65 years of age or older at the end of the income tax year for which the credit is claimed and have income that is less than or equal to $65,000, adjusted for inflation, or a surviving spouse who is at least 58 and meets the same income qualification.
If the qualifying senior's adjusted gross income for the taxable year is less than or equal to the base income amount, which is $12,000, adjusted for inflation, then the credit is equal to the maximum credit amount, which is $700, adjusted for inflation. The amount of the credit decreases by $50, adjusted for inflation, for each income grouping above the base income amount. The amount of the credit that exceeds the qualifying senior's income taxes due is refunded to the qualifying senior.
Section 6 also creates the credit stabilization cash fund. The state treasurer is annually required to transfer money from the cash fund to the general fund, or vice versa, depending on whether the total amount of the credits exceeds an approximation of what the state would have had to pay to backfill the senior homestead exemption.
If some or all of the credit is paid to the senior as a state income tax refund, and therefore taxable income, section 7 allows a qualifying senior to deduct an amount equal to the refundable amount of the credit from taxable income for purposes of determining state income taxes.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)