Seniors could benefit under new Homestead rules

CHARLESTON — The homestead exemption for low-income seniors would increase if House lawmakers approve two resolutions adopted earlier this year by their counterparts in the Senate.
The homestead exemption was added as an amendment to the state Constitution in 1982, and gives a $20,000 property tax break to seniors 65 and older, and to those who are permanently disabled.
For example, if a house is worth $100,000, the tax value would be $60,000 but those eligible for the homestead exemption would pay taxes on $40,000.
State Senate Resolution 9 and 11 were adopted Jan. 24 and 25, respectfully by the Senate. Both are currently before the House of Delegates.
Senate Joint Resolution 9 increases the homestead exemption from $20,000 to $50,000, or 30 percent of a property’s assessed valuation, whichever is greater.
Senate Joint Resolution 11 provides an alternative method of calculating the homestead exemption.
Resolution 9 is in the Rules Committee and Resolution 11 is ready to go to Rules as of March 6.
At any rate, if two-thirds of the Senate and House approve both resolutions the pair of proposals will go on the November 2012 ballot.


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