Photo by Lorie Palmer
Locals may be eligible for a reduced rate for property taxes.
As of Tuesday, February 10, 2015
IDAHO COUNTY — Could you qualify for a reduction in Idaho property taxes? According to AARP research, just less than half of the more than 55,000 Idahoans eligible for a reduction in their property taxes actually apply for this discount.
However, the number who apply locally is fairly high, according to Idaho County Assessor James Zehner.
“We have about 800 who apply in our county, which is a fairly high rate compared to some of the other counties,” Zehner said. “However, even though it has been around for a long time, there are always people who have not heard of it.”
The Idaho Property Tax Reduction (“Circuit Breaker”) Program reduces property taxes on a homeowner’s primary Idaho residence and up to one acre of land by as much as $1,320.
Applicants for the property tax reduction program can have no more than $29,100 in total 2014 income. They must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident and they must also be in at least one of the following categories as of Jan. 1: Age 65 or older; blind; widow(er) of any age; former prisoner of war or hostage; or disabled (as recognized by the Social Security Administration, Veterans Affairs, Railroad Retirement Board, or Federal Civil Service).
“Those who think they may qualify should stop by our office in the Idaho County Courthouse,” Zehner said. “The application can be a little complicated, so we help fill it out and answer any questions.”
Those who file taxes must have their taxes filed and their paperwork available. Those who do not need to file taxes must show their 1099 from their Social Security or whatever income they receive.
“This program makes a difference in people’s lives,” said Pam Waters, who oversees the Property Tax Reduction Program for the Tax Commission. “We’d like to see more people apply so they can get help paying their property taxes.”
Applications must be filed with a homeowner’s county assessor by April 15. When applications are completed, property owners will know if they qualify and how much of a break they can expect. They may be pre-approved locally but applications are then sent on to Boise for final approval, Zehner explained. Once a person applies, they will be on a mailing list to get the application.
For information, contact the county assessor’s office at 983-2742.