Property owners given more time to apply for tax exemptions
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 8/4/2022, 6 p.m.
Elderly and totally disabled property owners in Richmond will have the whole year to apply for exemptions from real estate taxes, beginning in January 2023.
Jumping on a change in state law, City Council has approved allowing homeowners who are over 65 or totally disabled to apply between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 for an exemption, which ranges from 25 percent to 100 percent, depending on household income.
The council’s action means applications can be filed at any time, eliminating the March 31 deadline that was in place this year.
Fifth District Councilwoman Stephanie A. Lynch spearheaded the change that her eight colleagues endorsed after the General Assembly authorized localities to extend the application deadline earlier this year.
The move comes as the number of participants in the city program continues to shrink.
In the 2020-21 fiscal year, only 1,881 property owners were approved to have property taxes reduced or eliminated, down 8 percent from the 2,052 owners approved in the 2019-2020 fiscal year and down 14 percent from the 2,206 owners approved the previous year, according to a city report.
Ms. Lynch said she hopes that the longer deadline would encourage more city residents to participate in the program.
Long in force, the program eliminates real estate taxes for elderly and disabled owners with a household income of $30,000 or less. Those qualifying also no longer have to pay for trash and recycling pickup service, either.
Renters who meet the age or disability requirements also can gain an exemption for paying for refuse and recycling services through the public utility bills.
Of those in the program, 1,271 participants or 68 percent qualified for 100 percent real estate tax relief, the city report stated.
The program also exempts households with annual incomes from $30,000 to $40,000, from 75 percent of taxes; those with incomes from $40,000 to $50,000 from 50 percent of taxes; and those with incomes from $50,000 to $60,000 from 25 percent of taxes.
Qualifying households must have a total net worth of $350,000 or less, as well, according to the program requirements.