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11/17/2004
Tax break for county senior citizens

NCCo seniors qualify for tax break
By CHARLOTTE HALE / The News Journal
11/17/2004
Some senior citizens can save money on their property tax bill from New Castle County starting next July by applying for an exemption approved Tuesday.

County Council voted unanimously to increase by $10,000 the exemption on property taxes for some taxpayers 65 and older.

Seniors whose income does not exceed $50,000, regardless of marital status, now qualify for the tax break. The income limit previously was $40,000.

Under the exemption, $50,000 will be subtracted from the value of a home before taxes are assessed.

The owners of homes with the average assessed value of $71,000 and in unincorporated areas will pay about $96 a year in property taxes. The bill was about $141 for seniors who qualified for the old exemption.

"I think this is something that is needed for the elderly in our communities," Councilwoman Patty Powell said.

County finance officials estimate the bigger exemption will result in the county losing up to $1.3 million a year in tax revenue. The cost also reflects a $36 cap qualifying seniors will receive on their sewer bills.

However, the owners of about 3,200 more properties are now eligible to receive the tax break. The owners of about 12,500 of the 17,600 homes who already get some financial relief will qualify for even more.

Although Councilman Robert Weiner supported the exemption, he suggested council members consider tax breaks at the same time they discuss the government's annual budget.

Contact Charlotte Hale at 324-2792 or chale@delawareonline.com.

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