Older or disabled homeowners who would otherwise qualify for an exemption on property taxes are discovering that as their county assessor lowers the value on their homes, resulting in less equity (if any), they are less likely to qualify for exemptions.
However, since many of us are underwater ─ owing more on our homes than the assessor’s valuation (not an outside appraiser’s valuation, by the way) ─ we no longer have sufficient equity to qualify for an exemption or deferral on property taxes. A homeowner in this situation is exempt from property taxes only if his or her income is $35,000 or less annually. We in the middle are getting squeezed even more.
It is time for our legislators to amend the property tax law on exemptions to ease the burden on lower-income, older homeowners.