There’s a senior-citizen property tax exemption available that Pitkin County Assessor Tom Isaac wants to make sure people are aware of.
The Senior Homestead Exemption was approved 15 years ago by state legislation and lasted until 2007 when the exemption was canceled because revenues were so bad. But the exemption was brought back in 2009, Isaac said.
“Understandably, a lot of people aren’t sure the exemption exists,” Isaac said. “I just want to remind everyone in our county that the benefit is available.”
The Senior Homestead Exemption exempts 50 percent of the first $200,000 of actual property value, up to a maximum reduction of $100,000. To qualify, you must be at least 65 years of age as of Jan. 1 of the year you apply, you must have been the owner of record of the property for at least 10 consecutive years, and you must occupy the property as your principal residence for at least 10 consecutive years.
“It’s an exemption that can make a big difference on a lower-priced home,” Isaac said.
“You could argue that it helps seniors with the greatest needs. We already have more than 650 senior tax exemptions on record, but personally, I know there’s a lot more folks who qualify and the goal is to make sure they’re aware of this benefit.”
Isaac said the exemption could help anyone 65 and older, no matter what their income is or the value of their home.
Condominiums and employee housing also qualify for the exemption, as long as the applicant fits within the same criteria.
Isaac also wanted the public to be aware that the same exemption applies to veterans who have 100 percent disability, regardless of their age. Applications need to be submitted by July 15 to receive the exemption for 2014 taxes.
To apply for the Senior Homestead Exemption, applicants can go to the Assessor’s Office, located on the ground floor of the Pitkin County Courthouse building in Aspen, and fill out the proper forms. Staff at the office can help with the forms, which Isaac said only takes a few minutes to complete. Applications are also available at the Pitkin County Senior Center on Castle Creek Road in Aspen.
Another option is to call 970-920-5160 and request to have an application mailed.