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Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program

Posted on: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014  //  under Senior Citizens, Property Taxes, Homeownership Advisors Network

HOLD ONIn a ‘good news/bad news’ story from the Pioneer Press, Frederick Melo and Sarah Horner highlight how the good news of increased property values after years of declining prices have also led to a bad news situation where many east-metro residents may see their property taxes increase substantially next year due to increased assessed values of homes.

Almost all of the consumers interviewed for the article were Seniors who were living on fixed incomes.  Interestingly, the article did not mention Minnesota’s tax deferral program available to seniors on fixed incomes, so we decided we would highlight the program here.

About the Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program:

The Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program in Minnesota allows property taxpayers who are 65 years or older to defer payment of a portion of their homestead property taxes until a future date.  Under this program, homeowners only pay a maximum of three percent of the preceding year’s household income as property tax, and the rest of the property tax is deferred.

Taxpayers are still allowed to file for property tax refund and any other property refunds the state may offer, however the amount of any refunds will be applied to the deferred property tax amount.

In order to qualify for Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program, all of the following criteria must be met:

  • The property must be owned and occupied as a homestead by a person 65 years or older. If married, BOTH must be at least 65 years old.
  • Total household income must be $60,000 or less during the calendar year preceding the year of the initial application.  That means that if someone applies for the program in 2015, their household income in 2014 cannot exceed $60,000.
  • The home must have been owned and occupied by at least one of the homeowners 15 consecutive years before the initial application.
  • There can be no state or federal tax liens or judgement liens on the property.
  • The total unpaid balances of debts secured by mortgages and other liens on the property, including deferred tax and interest amounts under the program, unpaid and delinquent special assessments and property taxes, penalties and interest – cannot exceed 75% of the assessor’s estimated market value of the property for the current year.

The Senior Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program only DEFERS payment.  It is not a grant.  A lien will be placed on the property that may affect refinance options as well as estate planning issues.  In addition, the deferred property taxes, any special assessments that may have been deferred, penalties, plus any recording or filing fees will become due and payable to the state of Minnesota when the deferral ends. If the property is sold or the homeowner dies, payment is due within 90 days of termination.

Homeowners who think they may qualify or have questions about property taxes for a friend or family member are encouraged to contact a Homeownership Advisor as soon as possible.  If you are struggling with property tax or mortgage payments, time is of the essence.  Don’t wait, speak to a Homeownership Advisor today.