Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 23, 2014

Circuit Breaker law benefits seniors

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

So many things happen when you or your spouse turn 65. One thing that happens is that you might be eligible for some significant property tax relief.

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me how many seniors are unaware of the “Circuit Breaker,” a law I worked hard to pass in the Senate many years ago. The premise of this law is that seniors, whose income typically drops while their home value increases ought not be paying more than 10 percent of their income on property taxes.

For example, a single senior whose income is $40,000 and whose property taxes are $4,800 could get an $800 check from the state of Massachusetts — the amount over 10 percent of income.

These are the basic ground rules:

Income must not exceed $55,000 for singles, $82,000 for couples filing jointly.

The assessed value of your home cannot exceed $700,000.

Your property taxes, plus one-half of your water and sewer bills, must exceed 10 percent of your income.

The 2013 cap on a refund is $1,030.

You must fill out schedule CB on the Massachusetts Income Tax form, even if you are exempt from paying state income taxes.

This is a state, not a local program, so the refunds do not affect the town or school budgets.

Please visit Mass. Gov Circuit Breaker Credit for more information about the Circuit Breaker, including how renters can also qualify.

Sue Tucker

6 Farrwood Drive