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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A SENIOR MEANS-TESTED PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION IN THE TOWN OF CONCORD

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
     SECTION 1.  With respect to each qualifying parcel of real property classified as Class 1, residential, in the town of Concord there shall be an exemption from the property tax equal to the total amount of tax that would otherwise be assessed without this exemption less the sum of:  (i) 10 per cent of the total annual qualifying income for purposes of the state circuit breaker income tax credit; and (ii) the amount of the state circuit breaker credit the applicant was eligible to receive in the year before the application being filed. The percentage of total annual qualifying income may be raised by section 3. Property taxes shall not be reduced by more than 50 per cent by this exemption. The exemption shall be applied to the domicile of the taxpayer only. For the purposes of this act, a “parcel” shall be a unit of real property as defined by the board of assessors under the deed for the property and shall include a condominium unit.
     SECTION 2.  The board of assessors may deny an application for the exemption in section 1 if the board finds that the applicant has excessive assets that place the applicant outside of the intended recipients of the senior exemption created by this act. Real property shall qualify for the exemption under section 1 if the following criteria are met:
     (i)  the qualifying real property is owned and occupied by a person whose prior year’s income would make the person eligible for the circuit breaker income tax credit under subsection (k) of section 6 of chapter 62 of the General Laws;
     (ii)  the qualifying real property is owned by a single applicant who is 65 years of age or older at the close of the previous year or owned jointly if 1 of the joint applicants is 65 years of age or older at the close of the previous year and the other joint applicant is 60 years of age or older;
     (iii)  the qualifying real property is owned and occupied by the applicant or joint applicants as their domicile;
     (iv)  the applicant or not less than 1 of the joint applicants has been domiciled in the town of Concord for not less than 10 consecutive years before filing an application for the exemption;
     (v)  the maximum assessed value of the domicile is not more than the town’s median single-family residential assessed value of the prior fiscal year; and
     (vi)  the board of assessors has approved the application for the exemption.
     SECTION 3.  The exemption under section 1 shall be in addition to any other exemption allowable under the General Laws, except that there shall be a dollar cap on the total exemptions granted pursuant to this act equal to 0.5 per cent of the fiscal year’s total residential property tax levy for the town of Concord, including the levy for the regional high school if not included in the town’s tax levy at some subsequent date with the total exemption amount granted pursuant to this act allocated proportionally within the tax levy on all residential taxpayers. After the first year of the exemption, the total cap on the exemptions granted pursuant to this act shall be set annually by the select board within a range of 0.5 to 1 per cent of the residential property tax levy for the town. If benefits to the applicants may be limited because the percentage established annually by the select board would otherwise be exceeded, the benefits shall be allocated by raising the total annual qualifying income percentage as required in section 1 as necessary to not exceed the cap. If the cap exceeds the need for the exemption, the total cap on the exemptions granted pursuant to this act shall be reduced to meet the need.
     SECTION 4.  A person who seeks to qualify for the exemption under section 1 shall, before the deadline established by the board of assessors, file an application, on a form to be adopted by the board of assessors, with the supporting documentation of the applicant’s income and assets as described in the application. The application shall be filed each year for which the applicant seeks the exemption.
     SECTION 5.  Acceptance of this act by the town of Concord shall be first by vote of approval at an annual town meeting, to be followed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voters at any regular or special election at which the question of acceptance is placed on the ballot. Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, and sections 7 and 8 shall take effect 30 days after an affirmative vote by the town.
     SECTION 6.  This act may be revoked by an affirmative vote of a majority of the voters at any regular or special town election at which the question of revocation is placed on the ballot. Revocation of sections 1 to 4, inclusive, and sections 7 and 8 shall take effect 30 days after an affirmative vote of the town to revoke those sections.
     SECTION 7.  An exemption shall not be granted under this act until the department of revenue certifies a residential tax rate for the applicable tax year where the total exemption amount is raised by a burden shift within the residential tax levy.
     SECTION 8.  This act shall expire after 3 years of implementation of the exemption.

Approved, January 6, 2017