Town of Cumberland, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. of 10-16-1985, § I; Ord. No. 95-9, § 1, 4-19-1995; Ord. No. 99-54A, § 1, 1-19-2000; Ord. No. 03-03, § 1, 2-5-2003; Ord. No. 05-06A, § 1, 4-6-2005; Ord. No. 08-06, § 1, 3-19-2008; Ord. No. 11-04-A, § 1, 5-4-2011; amended 4-19-2017 by Ord. No. 17-07A]
(a) 
Pursuant to the Rhode Island General Laws, real and personal property situated within the Town may be exempt from taxation up to the amounts established for each exemption listed in this section. The maximum aggregate exemption from taxation for any combination of the exemptions listed in this section shall be $56,940.
(1) 
For veterans and unmarried widows of veterans, limit of exemption: $22,884.
(2) 
For gold star parents, limit of exemption: $22,884.
(3) 
For the blind, limit of exemption: $45,767.
(4) 
For the veteran who are also classified as totally disabled through service-connected disability, limit of exemption: $45,767.
(5) 
For persons who are 65 years of age or older and who own and occupy real property, limit of exemption: $45,767.
(b) 
In addition to the exemptions for persons who are 65 years of age or older listed in Subsection (a)(5), any such person may apply for an additional exemption of $10,173, provided their annual income falls within the following limits:
For a single owner of a single-family dwelling which is owner occupied, there is an income limit of $10,500. That limit is increased to a maximum of $15,000 for two or more owners of an owner occupied, single-family dwelling.
(c) 
For any veteran or unmarried widow/widower of a veteran who has been determined to be a prisoner of war, limit of exemption is $45,767.
(d) 
Eligible persons shall apply with the tax assessor on or before March 15 for exemptions to be applied to taxes for the following year and continuing thereafter as long as said persons remain eligible. Any exemption under Subsection (a)(5) and/or (c) above shall be granted to said person otherwise eligible, only if said person has been a resident of and continuously resided in the Town for at least one year prior to the date of application for exemption.
[Ord. No. 92-15, §§ 1, 2, 6-3-1992]
(a) 
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
INVENTORY OR STOCK IN TRADE OF A WHOLESALER
Includes the merchandise kept on hand for sale in the normal and regular course of a wholesale business.
WHOLESALER
Includes a person, partnership, corporation or other business entity which is primarily engaged in the business of selling goods for subsequent resale by its customers (at least 50%), and has duly made application for such status pursuant to Subsection (e) of this section. Except as provided in Subsection (d) of this section, no distinction shall be drawn between a wholesaler all or a portion of the sales of which are sales to one or more customers affiliated with such wholesaler, and a wholesaler the sales of which are exclusively sales to customers not affiliated with such wholesaler. A wholesaler shall be considered affiliated with customers if it controls, is controlled by or is under the common control with such customers.
(b) 
Phaseout. Effective for the assessment of tangible personal property to be made as of December 31, 1992, and December 31, 1993, the Town Assessor shall not increase the assessed valuation of the inventory or the stock in trade of a wholesaler from those values assessed on December 31, 1991.
(c) 
Exemption. Beginning with the assessment of tangible personal property to be made as of December 31, 1993, and thereafter through the later to occur of December 31, 2013 or action by the Town Council, effective subsequent to such date, to repeal this section, no tax shall be assessed with respect to the inventory or stock in trade of a wholesaler, except as provided in Subsection (d) of this section.
(d) 
Apportionment. If a wholesaler sold inventory or stock in trade both at wholesale and at retail in the preceding calendar year, the Town Assessor shall assess on the same basis as retailer's inventory or stock in trade as of December 31 of such year, to the extent permitted by applicable law, notwithstanding Subsection (b) or (c) of this section, that proportion of the inventory or stock in trade of such wholesaler which shall be equal to the percentage of such wholesaler's total sales during the preceding calendar year that were at retail. For the purposes of this subsection, sales at retail shall not include sales to employees of the wholesaler or to employees of its affiliates. If retail sales are less than 1% of the total sales during such year, it shall be deemed that no sales were made at retail during such year. All of the sales of a wholesaler to a customer which is an affiliate entity shall be deemed to be retail sales for the purposes of this paragraph if more than half of the dollar values of the sales of such entity is made within the Town.
(e) 
Application procedure. Persons, partnerships, corporations and other business entities desiring the benefits of this section shall annually file an application on the forms to be provided by the tax assessor for such purpose at the time provided for the filing of an account pursuant to G.L. 1956, § 44-5-15. Each application shall be sworn to by the applicant under penalties of perjury. Such application shall contain:
(1) 
A statement of the applicant's name and the address at which the inventory or stock in trade is located;
(2) 
A statement that the applicant is a wholesaler within the meaning of this section;
(3) 
A statement as to whether the applicant made any retail sales during the preceding calendar year; and
(4) 
If the applicant made sales of merchandise at retail; in the preceding calendar year, a statement of the percentage of applicant's total sales which represent sales at retail in such calendar year.
The applicant also shall provide to the tax assessor such additional information, certifications, records or proof as the tax assessor deems requisite.
(f) 
Effective date. This section shall be effective with respect to the tax assessment to be made as of December 31, 1993 and thereafter, and any exceptions from tax contained in this section may not be repealed with respect to tax assessment to be made prior to December 31, 2014, provided that the foregoing shall not preclude or restrict amendment to procedural or definitional portions of this section to take account of changes in law or circumstances or better to carry out the intentions of the Town Council.
[Ord. No. 96-33, § 1, 1-7-1997]
(a) 
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
ELIGIBLE PROPERTY
In the calendar year such property is acquired any technology property that has been acquired by a qualifying taxpayer after the taxpayer has submitted a certificate to the tax assessor requesting that the property be certified as technology property and that the taxpayer be classified as a qualifying taxpayer and the tax assessor has approved such request and in any subsequent calendar year shall mean property that in the prior calendar year qualified as eligible property and was covered in the annual recertification request filed by the taxpayer with the tax assessor for the current calendar year requesting acknowledgment that the property continues to qualify as technology property and that the taxpayer continues to qualify as a qualifying taxpayer and the tax assessor has approved such request. Technology property that was acquired prior to the date the tax assessor acknowledged the property qualified for classification as eligible property shall never be eligible for the property tax exemption provided in this article.
QUALIFYING TAXPAYER
Any business (other than as set forth herein), in whatever form operated, that currently owns or leases or anticipates owning or leasing property in the Town for use in conducting such business. The phrase does not include a business that has less than 40 full time employees in the Town or a business that is principally engaged in the Town or elsewhere in making retail sales, extracting minerals or other raw materials, distributing merchandise or other goods or providing professional or similar services, which shall include but not be limited to health related services (such as medical, dental, surgical, nursing or diagnostic services), legal, accounting, engineering, drafting, architectural, real estate brokers and benefits consulting services. To be treated as a qualifying taxpayer, a business must currently employ or establish that it reasonably anticipates within 12 months that it will employ within the Town at least one full time employee for every 250 square feet of office space and at least one full time employee for every 450 square feet of manufacturing and other non-office space that it owns or leases in the Town. The number of full time employees of a business shall be determined using the rules set forth in G.L. § 42-64.5-2 to determine the number of "full time equivalent active employees" of the business. A business leasing property to a qualifying taxpayer during a fiscal year will be treated as a qualifying taxpayer for that period if the lessee of such property qualifies as a "qualifying taxpayer" and the certification or recertification requirements set forth herein are otherwise satisfied.
TECHNOLOGY PROPERTY
Any investment in (i) main frame computers, or PC based area wide networks or PC based local area networks that includes at least 25 workstations and (ii) research and development equipment to the extent such equipment would qualify for the sales and use tax exemption available in G.L. § 44-18-30(43).
(b) 
Findings. The Town Council finds that providing an incentive for new investments in technology property as authorized by G.L. § 44-3-3.1 will help attract and maintain local businesses and will promote public welfare.
(c) 
Administration. The tax assessor shall promulgate all certification and annual recertification forms within the requirements of this article and shall set forth the due dates for the filing of all such forms. The tax assessor shall respond to any completed request for certification or annual request for recertification by either approving the request or denying the request within 10 business days after the completed request has been received in the office of the tax assessor. The tax assessor, to assure continued compliance with the requirements set forth herein, shall deny the exemption for eligible property that would otherwise be available to a qualifying taxpayer in any calendar year if the taxpayer fails to file a timely accounting for such year as required pursuant to G.L. § 44-5-15 and to provide in connection with that filing such information as the tax assessor may request to establish that the taxpayer is entitled to the exemption claimed for such year. If the taxpayer cannot establish for that year that it met or continued to meet the employment requirements set forth herein, but it can establish for such year that it met at least 90% of those requirements, it shall be entitled for such year to a proportionate part of the exemption.
(d) 
Appeals. Appeals of decisions of the tax assessor under this article shall be to the Board of Assessment Review for a full hearing de novo.
(e) 
Technology property exemption.
(1) 
Any qualifying taxpayer owning during a calendar year eligible property shall be exempt from property tax on such property. This exemption shall not apply to any other liability against the property due the Town, such as water or sewer assessment. This exemption shall also not apply to the property tax liability attributable to subsequent periods unless the property retains its classification as eligible property. In addition, this exemption shall be forfeited by the owner of property who shall be delinquent in the payment of any tax or other liability due the Town, whether against such property or other property owned by the owner in the Town.
(2) 
Notwithstanding any provision in this article to the contrary, a qualifying taxpayer shall not be entitled to the property tax exemption set forth herein if such taxpayer moved its business operation to the Town from another community in this state and the exemption would not otherwise be allowed under G.L. § 44-3-3.1.
[Ord. No. 97-14, § 1, 5-7-1997]
The Town will allow real estate taxes to accrue without interest for applicants that meet all of the requirements listed below:
(1) 
The property taxes of a qualified applicant will be deferred until a transfer of the property occurs. Full payment will be due upon transfer. A payment plan will be developed by the tax assessor and tax collector for qualified applicants whose income rises above current income limits when property is not being transferred.
(2) 
A lien will be recorded with the Town Clerk's office upon the approval of the applicant.
(3) 
Individual receiving this tax deferment shall not be subject to tax sale.
(4) 
The property owner shall deed the property to the Town and retain a life estate for him/her in situations where the tax due exceeds the value of the property. The Town will not make any further attempt to recover any unpaid taxes.
(5) 
Income limits: Qualified applicants shall have households incomes below the current Federal Poverty Guidelines.
(6) 
Property type: This deferment will cover the real estate taxes of a property owner's primary residence only. The value of the real estate must be less than $150,000.
(7) 
Assets: Total bank accounts or similar funds must be less than the annual property tax due.
(8) 
Total current value of motor vehicles must be less than $5,000.
(9) 
The applicant cannot have an interest in any other parcel of real estate.
(10) 
All other assets with a value of over $1,000 must be disclosed to the tax assessor.
(11) 
Application date: Property owners must apply by March 15 annually. Copies of the last two years tax returns shall accompany all applications.
[Ord. No. 02-35, § 1, 2-5-2003; Ord. No. 11-04-A, § 1, 5-4-2011]
(a) 
The tax assessor is hereby authorized to grant every person who is a citizen and resident of the Town who is determined to be totally disabled by the Social Security Administration an exemption on the assessed valuation of the person's residential real property. The amount of the exemption will be in accordance with the schedule set forth below, and entitlement to the exemption shall be determined by the person's compliance with the Town's rules and regulations for exemption from property taxes for persons who are totally disabled in Subsection (c) of this section.
[Amended 4-19-2017 by Ord. No. 17-07A]
(b) 
Schedule of exemptions:
[Amended 4-19-2017 by Ord. No. 17-07A]
(1) 
Taxpayers having an annual household income, as that term is defined in the rules, of less than $10,500 shall receive an exemption of $24,066 of the assessed valuation.
(2) 
Taxpayers having an annual household income, as that term is defined in the rules, of at least $10,500 but less than $15,000 shall receive an exemption of $19,253 of the assessed valuation.
(3) 
Taxpayers having an annual household income, as that term is defined in the rules, of at least $15,000 but less than $20,000 shall receive an exemption of $14,439 of the assessed valuation.
(4) 
Taxpayers having an annual household income, as that term is defined in the rules, of at least $20,000 but less than $25,000 shall receive an exemption of $9,626 of the assessed valuation.
(c) 
Rules and regulation for exemption from property taxes for persons who are totally disabled:
(1) 
All applicants must be determined to be totally disabled by the social security administration and must be under the age of 65 years.
(2) 
Applicants must be legally domiciled and must have actually resided in the Town for a period of five years ending with the date of assessment for the year which exemption is claimed (the year following the date of assessment). Absence from this Town for a period of one year shall constitute prima facia evidence of abandonment of domicile. In those instances where absence in excess of one year is due solely to hospitalization or other residential medical treatment (nursing homes and the like), the tax assessor is authorized to review individual cases and waive the absence standard, provided that all other requirements are satisfied and the facts presented so warrant.
(3) 
The applicant must own or live and live in the house to which the exemption is to be applied and must have owned that dwelling for at least two years prior to the date of assessment for which the exemption is claimed.
(4) 
No income-producing property, residential or otherwise, shall be entitled to an exemption.
(5) 
Professional persons who operate and conduct their respective professions from their residences shall not be entitled to an exemption.
(6) 
Only one exemption will be granted to joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or tenants in common, even though all such tenants meet eligibility requirements.
(7) 
Tax assessor's "application for exemption" form must be filled out in its entirety and submitted each year to the tax assessor.
(8) 
The tax assessor's confidential statement of annual income must:
a. 
Be filled out in its entirety;
b. 
Indicate whether or not the claimant is required under law and regulation to file a state personal income tax return;
c. 
Waive, by signature of the unmodified waiver contained in the form, the applicant's Privacy Act rights with respect to tax assessor's confidential confirmation of claimed income;
d. 
Submitted to the tax assessor each year with the application for exemption form.
(9) 
All required forms must be filed with the tax assessor on or before March 15 (or the next normal business day following) of the year for which application is made. If the applicant was required to submit a state personal income tax return for the year prior to that for which application for exemption is made, a copy of that return shall be submitted to the tax assessor by April 16. No exemption shall be approved in the absence of the state personal income tax return or statement that such return was not required. All statements concerning income, whether or not taxable, are subject to independent verification by the tax assessor. These forms, and the state personal income tax return, are required as due evidence that the applicant is, in all respects, qualified for the relief provided by this article. All statements are subject to verification and the burden of proof for all requirements shall be with the applicant. The tax assessor may require certified proof of place and date of birth, voter registration, period of abode or domicile and ownership of property.
(10) 
Household income shall be computed on the basis of the calendar year and shall include all earned and unearned income. Earned income shall include wages, salaries, fees and monies received for personal services rendered. Unearned income shall include, but not limited to:
a. 
Gifts.
b. 
Pensions and annuities.
c. 
Insurance proceeds (other than medical).
d. 
Social security benefits.
e. 
Supplementary security income and attendant state and federal supplementary benefits.
f. 
Interest (regardless of source).
g. 
Dividends.
h. 
Net income from business, farm, rental and capital gains as determined in accordance with the rules and regulations of the United States Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service.
(11) 
Exemptions shall terminate upon the death or removal of the person receiving the exemption (except in those cases where there is a surviving, qualified spouse) or upon sale of the exempted property.
(12) 
The tax assessor may, at any time, inquire into the right of a claimant to the continuance of an exemption under this section and for that purpose the tax assessor may require the filing of a new application or the submission of such proof as deemed necessary to determine the right of the claimant to continuance of such exemption.
(13) 
If the tax assessor denies a claim for exemption and terminates a previously approved exemption, the claimant may appeal the tax assessor's decision to the Town's tax assessment board of review.
(14) 
The office of the tax assessor shall take the following action to ensure maximum dissemination of information concerning granting a tax exemption for the totally disabled.
a. 
Advertise the potential for tax relief in the newspaper at least two times per month between January 1 and the closing date for receipt of exemption applications.
b. 
Mail all necessary application forms to potentially qualified applicants not later than January 15 of the current tax year. The term "potentially qualified applicants" includes:
1. 
Claimants granted exemption for the prior tax year; and
2. 
Those persons who may from time to time make formal or informal inquiries at the tax assessor's office concerning tax relief for the totally disabled.
c. 
Provide such assistance to applicants as may be required to assure accurate and complete applications.
[Added 1-20-2016 by Ord. No. 15-25]
Pursuant to Section 44-3-21 of the R.I. General Laws, as amended, renewable energy systems may be exempt from taxation. The Cumberland Town Council finds that it would be in the public interest to exempt from taxation the renewable energy systems as described and provided for in §§ 36-7 and 36-8.
[Added 1-20-2016 by Ord. No. 15-25]
The additional cost or value of any renewable energy system or device which is being utilized as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying energy needs of any residential, commercial or industrial property upon which said system or device is located, not to exceed 250 kW, shall be exempt from taxation.
[Added 1-20-2016 by Ord. No. 15-25]
The additional cost or value of any renewable energy system or device in excess of 250 KW primarily utilized to produce energy for sale beyond the residential, commercial or industrial property may be exempted from taxation only if a contractual agreement is approved by the Town Council for the amount of property value to be exempt.
[Added 1-20-2016 by Ord. No. 15-25]
An application for a renewable energy system tax exemption shall be made to the Town Tax Assessor no later than January 1 of each year on forms to be provided by the Tax Assessor.
[Added 5-18-2016 by Ord. No. 16-10]
(a) 
In accordance with the authority granted to the Town of Cumberland pursuant to G.L. § 44-5-8.1, the Finance Director, subject to the approval of the Mayor, is authorized to waive interest on one quarter's overdue real property tax payment, subject to the terms and conditions below, and allow the remaining balance of real property taxes owed for that year to be paid on a quarterly basis if all of the following conditions are satisfied by the taxpayer.
(1) 
The property subject to the overdue property tax is the residence of the taxpayer and has been for the five years immediately preceding the property tax payment which is overdue.
(2) 
The request for a waiver of interest is in writing, signed and dated by the taxpayer.
(3) 
The taxpayer has made timely payments of property taxes to the town for the five years immediately preceding the tax payment which is overdue. The burden of proof of timely payments shall be upon the taxpayer.
(4) 
The bill for which the property tax is overdue was issued less than two years prior to the date of the request for a waiver of interest.
(b) 
In no event shall the waiver of interest on a property tax bill exceed $500. Decisions of the Finance Director shall be in writing with notice sent to the Town Council. If the taxpayer receives an adverse decision from the Finance Director, the taxpayer must pay the interest and may file a claim for reimbursement with the Town Council within 10 days of the date of the decision.