Howard County Council votes to improve tax credits options for seniors, retired military

Howard County Council votes to improve tax credits options for seniors, retired military

The Howard County Council on Monday voted unanimously to reduce the age limit of seniors eligible for property tax credits, while also improving tax credit options for seniors and retired military homeowners.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman introduced an amendment to the current senior tax credit legislation in October, which had provided property tax credits to seniors who were at least 70 years old. The council's approval of the new legislation reduced the age of eligibility to 65, stating that residents must also live on the property and have a combined gross income under $80,000 for fiscal year 2017.

Officials said the senior population in Howard County continues to increase, with 10 percent of its residents in 2010 aged 65 and older. The senior population is expected to increase to 18 percent by 2025 and reach 22 percent by 2035.

By reducing the age of eligible seniors, officials said, the new legislation will reach more than 40,000 property owners compared to the 26,000 eligible previously.

"I'm extremely pleased that this measure to aid our senior population by making property tax credits more accessible has won the council's approval," Kittleman said Tuesday morning.

The County Council also passed the aging-in-place tax credit for those who are seniors and retired military members, allowing a 20 percent tax credit on up to $500,000 of assessed property value over a five-year period. The Maryland General Assembly passed the tax credit statewide during the 2016 Legislative Session, but it required local legislation for expansion into Howard County.

Under the legislation, property owners who are 65 or older will receive a tax credit if they have lived on the property for at least 40 years.

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