SECTION 1. Chapter 59 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 5N the following section:
Section 5M. Senior Residents.
In any city or town that accepts the provisions of this section, with respect to each parcel of real property classified as class one residential that further meets the qualifications of this section, there shall be a cap on property taxes of up to 10 per cent of the total annual household income, except that in no event shall property taxes be reduced by more than 50 per cent of the tax due, including all tax abatements and exemptions, but excluding state circuit breakers. The exemption shall be applied only to the principal residence of a taxpayer as used by the taxpayer for income tax purposes.
Real property shall qualify for the exemption if all the following criteria are met:
(a) the qualifying real estate is owned and occupied by a person or family where the total annual household income shall not exceed the following: single applicant $51,000; single head of household applicant: $64,000; married applicant filing jointly $77,000;
(b) the qualifying real estate is owned and occupied by at least 1 person having reached age 65 or 70, as specified by the city or town that accepts this section, at the close of the previous tax year;
(c) the qualifying real estate is owned and occupied by the applicant at least 6 months plus 1 day each year;
(d) the applicant has resided in the city or town at least 10 consecutive years before filing an application for the exemption; and
(e) the maximum assessed value of the applicant's primary residence is no greater than the median assessed value of a single family residence in the city or town plus 10 per cent, as measured for the tax year immediately previous to the tax year for which the application for exemption is filed.
The exemption provided for in this section shall be in addition to any other exemption allowable under the General Laws, except that there shall be a dollar cap for all tax abatements, excluding circuit breakers. This cap shall be set annually by the tax setting authority and shall be between .5% and 1% of the previous fiscal year’s total tax levy for the accepting municipality.
A person who seeks to qualify for this exemption shall file with the board of assessors an application for abatement on a form to be adopted by the tax setting authority and available at the assessor's office with the supporting documentation as described in the application. The application shall be filed by January 31 each year for which the applicant seeks the exemption for the fiscal year commencing the following July 1.
For the purposes of this act, "parcel" shall be a unit of real property as defined by the assessors in accordance with the deed for the property and shall include a condominium unit.
For purposes of the exemption, "total annual household income" shall be the sum of the applicant's "total taxable 5.3 per cent income" on Massachusetts Form 1 and those same incomes for other income-producing members of the household. The income shall be increased by amounts that may have been excluded or subtracted from calculation, such as income from social security benefits, cash public assistance, tax-exempt interest and dividends, capital gains, income from a partnership or trust, returns on capital reported on schedule C and excluded income from any other source.
Acceptance of this chapter by the city or town shall be by a majority vote of its legislative body. The acceptance shall become effective on the thirtieth day following the affirmative vote.
The acceptance of this act may be revoked by a majority vote of the legislative body, subject to its charter. Revocation shall become effective on the thirtieth day following that vote.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.