How the Legislature changed property tax deferrals

Legislature changes property tax deferral program
By Oregon Department of Revenue
SALEM—The 2011 Oregon Legislature made significant changes to the Senior and Disabled Property Tax Deferral program, the Department of Revenue announced.

Most of the changes, which will affect property tax payments starting in November, make qualifying for the program more difficult.

The program, which the Legislature created in the 1960s, allows qualifying seniors and people with disabilities to defer paying property taxes while they’re living in their homes. The state pays their property taxes and charges interest. As participants leave the program or sell their homes, they repay the money and interest.

“The poor economy and struggling housing market resulted in more program participation but less capacity to pay. The Legislature had to make pretty deep changes to the program to bring things into balance,” said program manager Bram Ekstrand.

The changes include:

Household income and personal net worth limits.
Home value limits.
Proof of homeowner’s insurance.
A five-year minimum home occupancy.
How interest is calculated when the deferred payment comes due.

Also, participants must now re-certify for the program every two years.

“These changes won’t affect the property taxes the state has already paid,” Ekstrand said, “but they will affect property taxes paid from November on.”

On Thursday, the Department of Revenue sent letters to all current participants and new applicants explaining the changes.

“Each letter included a certification form that they must fill out and return to us by July 25 (2011),” Ekstrand said.

You can get more information on our website; or by calling 503-378-4988 (Salem and outside Oregon); 1-800-356-4222 (toll-free from an Oregon prefix); TTY (hearing or speech impaired), 1-800-886-7204; by e-mailing us; or by contacting your county assessor.

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