Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg recently signed legislation increasing the income exemption eligibility levels to help reduce the tax burden on senior homeowners.
Intro 265 amends the city's administrative code with respect to the Senior Citizens Homeowners Exemption (SCHE) program. SCHE provides tax relief for those aged 65 or older, who reside in one-, two-, or three-family homes, condominium units, or cooperative apartments, and have an annual income below $29,900.
"The Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption," says Bloomberg, "provides reduced property taxes for eligible New York City senior citizens that own and occupy residential properties. To be eligible, a person must be 65 years of age or older and be the owner and occupant of the property for which the tax abatement is sought. In addition, the senior must have held title to the property for at least 12 months prior to the application date."
Previously, to qualify for the maximum tax exemption of 50 percent of the assessed value of the property, an applicant was required to have an annual income of $20,500 or less; and households with incomes over $20,500 but less than $28,900 were eligible to qualify for graduated exemptions of between five percent and 45 percent. However, enabling legislation was signed in July 2002 by Governor George Pataki to increase those levels. The new maximum income exemption eligibility level is now $21,500 to qualify for the 50 percent property tax exemption, and those earning above $21,500 to a maximum of $29,900 qualify for exemptions of five percent to 45 percent, according to Bloomberg.
The SCHE exemption is based on a sliding scale. For example, if your income is less than $21,500, the exemption is 50 percent off of your property's assessed value. If your income is $21,500 but less than $22,500, the exemption is 45 percent; $22,500 but less than $23,500, 40 percent; $23,500 but less than $24,500, 35 percent; $24,500 but less than $25,400, 30 percent; $25,400 but less than $26,300, 25 percent; $26,300 but less than $27,200, 20 percent; $27,200 but less than $28,100, 15 percent; $28,100 but less than $29,000, 10 percent; and for incomes of $29,000 but less than $29,900, the exemption would be 5 percent off of your property's assessed value.