Tax exclusion aids elderly

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 9, 2007

WINDSOR – A tax exclusion clause that could help poor elderly citizens has been around for over three decades, but apparently very few people know about it.

Bertie County Tax Administrator Hosea Wilson wants to remedy that problem.

Wilson came before the Bertie County Commissioners during Monday’s meeting to inform them of changes for the 2008 Homestead Exclusion law and to submit one county citizen’s late application for exclusion.

Apparently, the original state law went into effect in 1971 that allowed either disabled citizens or citizens 65 and older who make less than a certain amount a year to file for an exemption from their homeowner’s taxes.

In the 36 years following the law’s passage, it has undergone several revamps, which increased the amount allowed to be exempted as well as the amount each citizen could make in a year and still remain eligible for the exemption.

The changes for 2008 say that an elderly or disabled person cannot make more than $25,000 a year and still be eligible, which is an increase of $5,000 over last year’s standards.

If a person meets the requirements they are allowed to file for an application of exclusion, which would entitle them to only have to pay half the tax on their home’s appraised value, with a $25,000 exclusion minimum.

For example, an eligible person owning a home valued at $100,000 would only be required to pay taxes on $50,000.

A person owning a home worth $30,000 would only have to pay $5,000 on taxes, however, because of the $25,000 minimum exclusion.

Wilson told the commissioners that many people don’t know about the exemption law.

&uot;Our population is getting older, but exemptions are going down. That means we’re not getting the word out,&uot; he stated.

Interested parties can obtain an application for exclusion from the Bertie County tax office, located on Dundee Street in Windsor.

The filing (or &uot;listing&uot;) period begins in January and extends until June 1.

After June 1, the tax assessor cannot approve applications, but they can be taken before the county commissioner’s upon request for a special late consideration.

Wilson also told the commissioners that the county’s real estate listing system is outdated and complicated, which further confuses people.

He suggested sending out postcards, which would inform homeowners of the availability of a full listing.

The commissioners unanimously passed a motion to allow Wilson to change the system to a postcard format and also advertise the law changes in order to help get the word out about the exclusion.

They also voted to allow exemption for the citizen who requested one.