FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield has expanded its tax relief program to allow more elderly and disabled residents to qualify for discounts.
“The money or funding we give seniors has remained the same over the past five to six years. Meanwhile, the tax increases have more or less eclipsed the benefit to seniors,” Senior Tax Committee chair Tom McCarthy said. “What we’re doing is putting it back the way it was.”
The Representative Town Meeting agreed Monday night to raise the thresholds on qualifications for its senior tax relief program. The program is now open to all residents with a disability or over the age of 65 with assets worth less than $650,000, increasing the maximum from $500,000.
The RTM also raised income limits on individual programs. Residents with an income of less than $50,600 now qualify for a “tax freeze,” which locks the home’s tax bill against future increases. The previous maximum income for the freeze was $49,600.
Residents who make less than $70,000 per year can also opt for a tax credit of between 15 to 67 percent based on income. The previous system had flat amounts and was restricted to those who made less than $60,900.
“My compliments to the committee and this body for taking such a comprehensive look at what our town needs to provide to help our seniors stay in Fairfield,” First Selectman Michael Tetreau said Monday in his State of the Town address. “This tax relief is a major component of keeping Fairfield affordable for seniors.”
The Senior Tax Committee is also working on a third tax relief option. The system would allow residents with incomes less than $80,000 per year to defer up to half of their annual tax payments for up to 13 years or until they sell their homes. That plan needed more work and will come back to the RTM for a vote later this year, McCarthy said.
The League of Women Voters will run a seminar for seniors to learn about the new system from Tax Assessor Don Ross on Feb. 6. The session starts at the Fairfield Senior Center at 10 a.m.