State Representative Dave Rogers Announces a Senior Tax Credit

A description of how to qualify for the "Circuit Breaker" tax break.

I would like to let seniors in Belmont know of a state income tax credit that may be helpful to them. This tax credit is known as the Circuit Breaker and is available to certain taxpayers who were 65 or older before January 1, 2013. Eligible seniors can claim a refundable credit on their state income taxes for the real estate taxes paid on the residential property they own or rent as their principal residence.

The maximum credit allowed for both renters and homeowners for 2012 is $1000. To be eligible for the credit for the 2012 tax year:

1. The taxpayer or spouse, if married filing jointly, must be 65 years of age or older before January 1, 2013; the taxpayer must own or rent residential property in Massachusetts and occupy the property as his or her principal residence.

2. The taxpayer’s “total income” cannot exceed $53,000 for a single filer who is not the head of a household; $67,000 for a head of household; or $80,000 for taxpayers filing jointly, and;

3. For homeowners, the assessed valuation as of January 1, 2012, before residential exemptions but after abatements, of the homeowner’s personal residence cannot exceed $705,000.

Eligible taxpayers who own their property may claim a credit equal to the amount by which their property tax payments in the current tax year (excluding any exemptions and/or abatements) including water and sewer use charges assessed, exceed 10% of their “total income” for that tax year. For renters, the law assumes that 25% of rent goes toward property tax. Accordingly, renters may claim a credit in the amount by which 25% of their annual rental payment is more than 10% of their total income.

To claim the circuit breaker credit, taxpayers must file Schedule CB and the associated Schedule CB worksheet with their 2012 tax return. For more detailed information on required adjustments and other qualifying information, you can call the Department of Revenue Customer Service at 617-887-6367 or visit the DOR web site www.mass.gov/dor and click on Individuals and then Tax Tips for Seniors, Students, and Military Personnel. All of the tax information above is excerpted from this web site.

Please feel free to contact my office at any time with questions (phone 617-722-2425) or email me at dave.rogers@mahouse.gov. I will be happy to send you the form.


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