City considers changes in tax relief program

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Extra help could soon be on the way for seniors or disabled people who live in Richmond.

The city is considering some big changes to its tax relief program. The city admitted today, it has not been spending anywhere near the amount of money set aside each year for the program, meaning there's not only room to provide more relief there's also room for more people to sign up.

If you're 65 or older and/or disabled and you own a home in the city of Richmond you could soon be getting a bigger tax break.

"We've been providing this relief but the structure we've been working under lags behind our peers in the surrounding counties and we feel that we can do better," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

The mayor's calling for changes to make the program simpler, while also providing a big tax break. If the changes are approved seniors making $20,000 or less could be eligible for 100 percent real estate tax relief. And those making between $20,000 and $30,000 could get 70 percent relief on their real estate taxes.

"There's so many people who don't even know about the program," said city councilman Marty Jewell.

On average, seniors who own a home and are enrolled could save as much as $1,200 each year.

"There are seniors out there and disabled people that need that money, who need that discount and that break," Jewell said.

Councilman Chris Hilbert supports the changes, but also wants the city to consider deferring the tax break so that the money is paid back to the city when a person passes away or their property is sold.

"For every dollar of tax relief we provide to people, the people that are paying taxes have to come up with that much more money," Hilbert explained.

There are 2500 Richmonders signed up for this program. It's anticipated several hundred more could also join next year. If you'd like information or to fill out an application, click here.

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