Senior Citizens / Disabled Persons Tax Relief Prog

NOTE: This program is available only to senior citizens or disabled persons whose primary residence is located in Washington State. The applicant must occupy their primary residence at least nine months each calendar year. 

The purpose of the exemption program is to allow senior citizens and/or disabled persons the ability to remain in their homes in spite of rising property taxes. The exemption program “freezes” the assessed value of the applicant’s primary residence and reduces the tax amount due based on the applicant’s level of income. The exemption program reduces the property tax liability of the applicant; the applicant does not have to repay these taxes. The exemption results in a tax shift to other taxpayers. 

  1. Eligibility Requirements
  2. Household Income Calculation
  3. Application Process

To be eligible for this program you must meet all the requirements:

  • age or disability,
  • ownership, 
  • residency, and
  •  income requirements.

Age or Disability

On December 31 of the year before the taxes are due, you must meet one of following age/disability requirements:

  • at least 61 years of age or older, or
  • unable to work due to a disability, or
  • veteran of the armed forces of the United States receiving compensation from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs at one of the following: 
    • combined service-connected evaluation rating of 80% or higher
    • total disability rating for a service-connected disability without regard to evaluation percent

Example: Your 61st birthday is in November 2019. You may file a 2019 application requesting an exemption on your 2020 taxes.

Ownership

You must own your home in San Juan County by December 31 the year before the taxes to be exempted are due. For example, to receive an exemption in 2020, you must own your home by December 31, 2019.

The type of ownership must be in total (fee owner), as a life estate (including a lease for life), or by contract purchase. There is no provision for ownership through a trust, however, a trust may meet the ownership requirement if it creates a life estate for the applicant. the definition of "life estate" is an estate whose duration is limited to the life of the party holding it or of some other person.

Definition of "Life estate": "Life estate" means an estate whose duration is limited to the life of the party holding it or of some other person.

  1. Reservation of a life estate upon a principal residence placed in trust or transferred to another is a life estate.
  2. Beneficial interest in a trust is considered a life estate for the settlor of a revocable or irrevocable trust who grants to himself or herself the beneficial interest directly in his or her principal residence, or the part of the trust containing his or her personal residence, for at least the period of his or her life.
  3. Beneficial interest in an irrevocable trust is considered a life estate, or a lease for life, for the beneficiary who is granted the beneficial interest representing his or her principal residence held in an irrevocable trust, if the beneficial interest is granted under the trust instrument for a period that is not less than the beneficiary's life.

Residency

The property must be your primary residence by December 31 the year before the tax is due. For example, you must be living in your home by December 31, 2019, to receive an exemption on your 2020 property tax. To keep your exemption going forward, you must live in your home for more than nine months each year.

Household Income

Your annual household disposable income may not exceed $40,000. 

Household income includes the combined disposable income of you, your spouse or domestic partner, and any co-tenants. A co-tenant is a person who lives in your home and has an ownership interest in your home.

Household income does not include income of a person who:

  • Does not have ownership interest and lives in your home, except for a spouse or domestic partner. However, you must include any income that person contributes to the household.
  • Has ownership interest in your home but does not live in the home. If someone living elsewhere has any ownership interest, the amount of your exemption will be based on the percentage of your ownership interest in the property.

Please see the tab entitled "Household Income Calculation".