ByCONNIE ESHThe Wilson Post
Wilson County homeowners who are 65 or older, with an income of $33,360 or less per year, can have their property taxes frozen, said County Trustee Jim Major.
And if their income is less than $24,790 per year they can also receive a refund on the amount they do have to pay.
But the deadline to apply is fast approaching, and in Wilson County the application deadline is April 6. More than 16,000 low-income Tennesseans age 65 and older have frozen their property tax rates since 2007, when the state constitution was amended, but they have to reapply each year to keep their tax rate frozen.
Those folks who think they may be eligible need to call 444-0894, or stop by the County Courthouse and see Janie Phagan or Doylene Lasater.
“We are currently calling anyone who has the credit but hasn’t been in yet,” Phagan said.
The freeze only affects county property taxes, since the City of Lebanon doesn’t participate in the tax freeze program.
“That’s a real shame, because the older, poorer residents of our state need all the breaks they can get in these tough economic times,” said AARP Tennessee State Director Rebecca Kelly of cities across the state that do not participate.
The program is available for people 65 and older who own homes and do not exceed the county income limit, which is based on the median income levels in the county. In Wilson County, that is $33,360 per year.
The State Comptroller’s Office calculates the income limit for each county annually using a formula outlined in state law.
Phagan said homeowners can freeze taxes on the home they live in and up to five acres of surrounding land, unless they are in a green belt.
“If the property is in a green belt, agricultural land, it already is taxed at a lower rate, so only the home and one acre will be eligible for the freeze,” Phagan said.
Also, if a homeowner has already received the tax freeze or the refund they need to come in each year and recertify to stay eligible, Phagan said.
For the refund program, taxpayers in the county can receive up to $152 credit and city taxpayers can receive up to $176 credit per year, Phagan said.
After freezing the rate, the owner can maintain the base tax amount by recertifying each year, unless he or she sells the home, or makes improvements, which increase its value. For more information, visit www.aarp.org/tn, and click on Read the Latest Tennessee News.
Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.