If you don’t need it, don’t take it
AARP Colorado notifies residents who qualify for the Homestead Tax Exemption that if they waive it by Sept. 15, the money will go back to senior services in the community, per an amendment AARP supported
When it comes to older adults and the homestead property tax exemption, AARP Colorado is sending the message to Coloradans 65 and older that if they don’t need and won’t miss the extra money, consider waiving it so that their less-fortunate peers can receive badly-needed services.
See Also List of Colorado County Assessors at: http://aarp.us/L5Ijc6
While the Homestead Tax Exemption, which reduces the amount of property tax paid by all residents 65 and older regardless of their income, has been in place for many years, it hasn’t been allowed for most of that time due to budget shortfalls.
This session, the Colorado legislature found funding for the exemption, which reduces property tax by about half for those 65 and older who have been in their own homes more than 10 years.
AARP Colorado worked with partners serving older Coloradans to secure an amendment to the bill that says any overflow may be used to help underfunded community senior services. In addition, recipients of the exemption may refuse the credit if they are turning 65 and have not yet signed up for the exemption. Those who have signed on to receive the exemption and want to waive it to help others, may do so by contacting their county assessor and sending a notice in writing before the Sept. 15 deadline. Assessors, however, are not obligated to grant homeowners’ wishes, but the hope is they will because a little extra work could result in low-income seniors receiving services that allow them to stay in their homes and independent, which saves money.
“This is a great opportunity to help others in your community if you feel you can afford to do so,” said AARP State Director Morie Smile. “Right now senior services in our community are underfunded by tens of thousands of dollars. Every little bit helps.”
Back in May, AARP staff and volunteer leadership applauded the signing of House Bill 1326, bi-partisan legislation that allows for a cost of living adjustment for the Old Age Pension and re-instates dental care services to seniors on OAP while extending dental care services to persons 65 and older who only qualify for the Medicare Savings Program. A late-in-session amendment to the bill designates any of the $98.5 Million unused by eligible Colorado residents will be directed to additional funding of the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), which provides home-and-community-based services such as Meals on Wheels. When homestead was last funded, the unused figure was approximately $770,000, but that figure will vary based on home assessments and the usage by eligible residents.
“It is very gratifying to see the Legislature, the senior community, and those who serve the elder population come together to advocate for this additional funding stream,” said Dennis Valentine, AARP volunteer Legislative Coordinator. “While this is a creative idea that will hopefully allow those who can to forego their Homestead Tax Exemption in a painless way, it in no way addresses the need for a long-term increase in funding to ensure the support of senior services. My wife and I are going to participate in this program because it will provide needed services for older Coloradoans and allow them to stay in their homes.”
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social welfare organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP’s millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.