Town of North Haven, CT
New Haven County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-29-2016 STM]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Ordinance Concerning Property Tax Freeze Relief for Certain Elderly Homeowners."
This article is enacted pursuant to the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-170v and 12-170w.
The Town of North Haven finds that it is fair and equitable and in the best interests of the Town of North Haven to provide property tax relief to certain eligible elderly homeowners as permitted by state law. Accordingly, pursuant to the authority granted to municipalities by Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-170v and 12-170w, the Town of North Haven seeks to improve the quality of life for its senior residents and encourage continued residence and property ownership in the Town of North Haven by establishing this Ordinance Concerning Property Tax Freeze Relief for Certain Elderly Homeowners.
A. 
Eligible homeowners.
(1) 
Effective April 15, 2016, and applicable to assessment years commencing on or after October 1, 2015, through the current revaluation period which ends with the 2019 Grand List (See § 184-46.), an owner of real property in the Town of North Haven or any tenant for life or for a term of years liable for property taxes to the Town of North Haven under § 12-48 of the Connecticut General Statutes who meets the qualifications stated in this section shall be entitled to pay the tax levied on such property, calculated in accordance with the provisions of § 184-41B of this article for the first year the claim for such tax relief is filed and approved in accordance with the provisions of this article. Such person shall be entitled to continue to pay the amount of such tax or such lesser amount as may be levied in any year during each subsequent year that such person meets such qualifications, and the surviving spouse of such real property owner (hereinafter "homeowner") or tenant, qualified in accordance with the requirements pertaining to a surviving spouse in this section, or any owner or tenant possessing a joint interest in such real property with the homeowner at the time of the homeowner's death and qualified at such time in accordance with the requirements of this section, shall be entitled to continue to pay the amount of such tax or such lesser amount as may be levied in any year, as it becomes due each year following the death of the homeowner for as long as the surviving spouse or joint owner or joint tenant is qualified in accordance with the requirements in this section.
(2) 
To qualify for the tax relief provided in this section, a homeowner shall meet all the following requirements:
(a) 
On December 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which a claim is filed, he or she must be:
[1] 
Seventy years of age or over;
[2] 
The spouse of a person 70 years of age or over, provided such spouse is domiciled with such person; or
[3] 
Sixty-two years of age or over and the surviving spouse of a taxpayer who at the time of such taxpayer's death had qualified and was entitled to tax relief under this section, provided such surviving spouse was domiciled with such homeowner at the time of the taxpayer's death.
(b) 
Occupy such real property as his/her/their principal residence.
(c) 
On December 31 of the calendar year preceding the year in which a claim is filed, the homeowner and/or his/her spouse shall have resided continuously within the Town of North Haven for at least five years before filing a claim for relief under this article.
(d) 
The taxable and nontaxable income of such taxpayer, the total of which shall hereinafter be called "qualifying income," in the tax year of such homeowner ending immediately preceding the date of application for benefits under the property tax freeze relief program in this article was not in excess of limits set forth in Connecticut General Statutes Section 12-170aa, as adjusted annually, evidence of which income shall be submitted to the Assessor of the Town of North Haven in such form and manner as the Assessor may prescribe.
(e) 
The assets of the taxpayer(s) applying for benefits shall not exceed the following limits:
[1] 
For taxpayer applicants who have resided continuously in the Town of North Haven for five to 10 years, an asset limit of $150,000 for single taxpayer applicants and $200,000 for married taxpayer applicants, excluding the principal residence for which property tax relief is being sought up to a fair market value of $500,000;
[2] 
For taxpayer applicants who have resided continuously in the Town of North Haven for over 10 years to 20 years, an asset limit of $200,000 for single taxpayer applicants and $250,000 for married taxpayer applicants, excluding the principal residence for which property tax relief is being sought up to a fair market value of $500,000; and
[3] 
For taxpayer applicants who have resided continuously in the Town of North Haven for over 20 years, an asset limit of $250,000 for single taxpayer applicants and $300,000 for married taxpayer applicants, excluding the principal residence for which property tax relief is being sought up to a fair market value of $500,000.
(f) 
Taxpayers whose principal residence has a fair market value of over $500,000, as determined by the Assessor, shall not be permitted to file an application for relief under this article.
(g) 
Countable assets.
[1] 
In determining compliance with the asset limits contained in Subsection A(2)(e) above, countable assets shall include all items of value owned by the taxpayer applicant(s), including but not limited to:
[a] 
Real property other than the principal residence for which property tax relief is being sought;
[b] 
All bank and credit union accounts;
[c] 
Certificates of deposit;
[d] 
Stocks;
[e] 
Bonds;
[f] 
Retirement accounts [investment accounts funded at least in part by the taxpayer applicant(s), which under the control of the taxpayer applicant(s), money can be taken out as he/she chooses];
[g] 
Annuities;
[h] 
Cash on hand;
[i] 
All vehicles;
[j] 
Business assets;
[k] 
Revocable trusts established by the taxpayer applicant(s); and
[l] 
Trusts for which the taxpayer applicant(s) is/are the beneficiary(ies) and from which distribution is available to meet household expenses.
[2] 
Assets which shall not be counted towards the applicable asset limit shall be:
[a] 
Furnishings and fixtures of the principal residence;
[b] 
Pensions [defined benefit provided by taxpayer applicant's(s') employer(s) at the time he/she retires in the form of a monthly payment distribution]; and
[c] 
Insurance policies [other than annuities which policies are intended to benefit survivors of the taxpayer applicant(s) or beneficiaries of his/her estate].
[3] 
Taxpayer applicants shall be required to execute an affidavit in a form to be determined by the Assessor and to submit, in support of his/her/their representation as to assets, at a minimum, a copy of the last two federal tax returns he/she/they filed and a copy of the last annual statement received by the taxpayer(s) prior to submission of his/her/their application for property tax freeze relief for any and all bank, credit union, brokerage, retirement, or other investment accounts as well as any other documents as required by the Assessor.
[4] 
The Assessor has sole discretion to determine whether an asset shall be counted towards the applicable asset limit.
(3) 
After the first year a claim for such tax relief is filed and approved, application for such tax relief shall be filed annually on a form prepared for such purpose by the Assessor of the Town of North Haven.
(4) 
Any homeowner who is qualified in accordance with this section and any such surviving spouse surviving upon the death of such homeowner qualified in accordance with the requirements pertaining to a surviving spouse, or any owner or tenant possessing a joint interest in such real property with the homeowner at the time of the homeowner's death and qualified at such time in accordance with the requirements of this section, shall be entitled to pay such tax in the amount as provided in this section for so long as such homeowner or such surviving spouse or joint owner or joint tenant continues to be so qualified.
(5) 
Applicants must also be qualified and receiving tax credits under the State of Connecticut Elderly and Disabled Homeowners Tax credits.
(6) 
The applicant must have all taxes paid in full at the time of application for benefits under this article to be eligible to receive said benefits.
(7) 
The amount of any Medicaid payments made on behalf of the homeowner or the spouse of the homeowner shall not constitute income.
(8) 
The income of the spouse of the homeowner shall not be included in the qualifying income of the homeowner for purposes of determining eligibility for tax relief under this article, if such spouse is a resident of a health care or nursing home facility in this state and such facility receives payment related to such spouse under the Title XIX Medicaid program.
B. 
Amount of tax.
(1) 
The tax on the real property for which the benefits under this article are claimed shall be the lower of the tax due with respect to the homeowner's residence for the assessment year commencing October 1 of the year immediately preceding the year in which the initial claim for tax relief is made, or the tax due for any subsequent assessment year.
(2) 
If title to real property is recorded in the name of the person or the spouse making a claim and qualifying under this section and any other person or persons, the claimant hereunder shall be entitled to pay the claimant's fractional share of the tax on such property calculated in accordance with the provisions of this section, and such other person or persons shall pay the person's or persons' fractional share of the tax without regard for the provisions of this section.
C. 
Transfer of property.
(1) 
If any person with respect to whom a claim for property tax freeze relief in accordance with this article has been approved for any assessment year, transfers, assigns, grants, or otherwise conveys or upon the death of the applicant homeowner without a qualifying surviving spouse or a qualifying joint owner or joint tenant in the real property, subsequent to the first day of October, but prior to the first day of August in such assessment year, the interest in real property to which such claim for property tax freeze relief is related, regardless of whether such transfer, assignment, grant, or conveyance is voluntary or involuntary, the amount of such tax relief benefit, determined as the amount by which the tax payable without benefit of this section exceeds the tax payable under the provisions of this section, shall be a pro rata portion of the amount otherwise applicable in such assessment year to be determined by a fraction, the numerator of which shall be the number of full months from the first day of October in such assessment year to the date of such conveyance or applicant homeowner's death and the denominator of which shall be 12.
(2) 
If such conveyance occurs in the month of October, the grantor shall be disqualified for such tax relief in such assessment year.
(3) 
The grantee shall be required, within a period not exceeding 10 days immediately following the date of such conveyance, to notify the Assessor thereof, or in the absence of such notice, upon determination by the Assessor that such transfer, assignment, grant, or conveyance has occurred or confirmation by the Assessor of the applicant homeowner's death without a qualifying surviving spouse or qualifying joint owner or joint tenant, the Assessor shall determine the amount of tax relief benefit to which the grantor or deceased applicant homeowner is entitled for such assessment year with respect to the interest in real property conveyed and notify the Tax Collector of the reduced amount of such benefit.
(4) 
Upon receipt of such notice from the Assessor, the Tax Collector shall, if such notice is received after the tax due date in the municipality, no later than 10 days thereafter, mail or hand a bill to the grantee stating the additional amount of tax due as determined by the Assessor.
(5) 
Such tax shall be due and payable and collectible as other property taxes and subject to the same liens and processes of collection, provided such tax shall be due and payable in an initial or single installment not sooner than 30 days after the date such bill is mailed or handed to the grantee and in equal amounts in any remaining, regular installments as the same are due and payable.
A. 
Application requirements and deadlines for filing.
(1) 
No claim shall be accepted under this article unless the homeowner or authorized agent of the homeowner files an application with the Assessor of the Town of North Haven, in such form and manner as the Assessor may prescribe, during the period from February 1 to and including May 15 of any year in which benefits are first claimed, including such information as is necessary to substantiate such claim in accordance with requirements in such application.
(2) 
The homeowner shall present to the Assessor a copy of his/her federal income tax return and the federal income tax return of his/her spouse, if filed separately, for such homeowner's taxable year ending immediately prior to the submission of the homeowner's application, or if not required to file a federal income tax return, such other evidence of qualifying income in respect to such taxable year as may be required by the Assessor.
(3) 
Each such application, together with the federal income tax return and any other information submitted in relation thereto, shall be examined and a determination shall be made as to whether the application is approved.
(4) 
Upon his/her determination that the applying homeowner is entitled to tax relief in accordance with the provisions of this article, the Assessor shall notify the homeowner and the Tax Collector of the approval of the homeowner's application.
(5) 
The Tax Collector shall determine the maximum amount of the tax due with respect to the qualifying homeowner's residence and thereafter the property tax with respect to such homeowner's residence shall not exceed such amount.
(6) 
After a homeowner's claim for the first year has been filed and approved the homeowner shall file an application for property tax freeze relief annually.
(7) 
With respect to the application required after the filing and approval for the first year, the Assessor shall notify each such homeowner concerning application requirements by regular mail not later than February 1 of each year, enclosing a copy of the required application form.
(8) 
Such homeowner may submit an application by mail, provided it is received by the Assessor not later than March 15 in the assessment year with respect to which property tax freeze relief is claimed and all required income information is included.
(9) 
Not later than April 1 of such year the Assessor shall notify, by certified mail, any previously qualified homeowner for whom a new application was not received by March 15 concerning application requirements, and the homeowner shall submit not later than May 15 such application personally or, for reasonable cause, by a person acting in behalf of the homeowner as approved by the Assessor.
(10) 
In the event that the qualifying homeowner does not desire to continue to receive benefits, he/she shall immediately notify the Assessor in writing. Thereupon, the tax rate due for that assessment year in which notification from the homeowner is received shall be based upon the full assessed value of the property and the homeowner will not receive the benefit established by § 184-41B. Upon receipt of such notice from the homeowner, the Assessor shall notify the Tax Collector of same and the Tax Collector shall issue a bill, by mail or by hand, to the homeowner no later than 10 days thereafter, stating that the total tax relief granted the homeowner under this article is due and payable within 30 days thereof. The interest rate assessed in this circumstance shall be the rate assessed pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-145 and 12-146.
B. 
Penalties for false applications.
(1) 
Any person knowingly making a false application for the purpose of claiming property tax freeze relief under of this article shall be fined not more than $500.
(2) 
Any person who fails to disclose all matters relating thereto or with intent to defraud makes a false statement and shall refund to the municipality all tax relief improperly taken.
A. 
Prior to the application deadline of May 15, 2016, at a meeting of the Board of Finance, the Board of Finance shall establish a maximum amount, or cap, for the aggregate amount of benefits available under this article for the first year of the property tax freeze program created herein. Thereafter, the Board of Finance shall establish an annual cap for the program in January of each year. In establishing the cap, the Board of Finance shall consider the anticipated receipt of federal, state, and other funding.
B. 
In the event that the cap is reached, the available benefits shall be prorated among qualified applicants, as determined by the Assessor.
Any property tax freeze relief granted to any resident of the Town of North Haven in accordance with the provisions of this article shall not disqualify the resident from receiving any benefits for which the resident shall be eligible under the provisions of Connecticut General Statutes Sections 12-129b to 12-129d, inclusive, 12-129n, and 12-170aa, and any such property tax freeze relief provided under this article shall be in addition to any such benefits for which such resident shall be eligible under said sections of the Connecticut General Statutes.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of any other part of this article which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application; and to this end, the provisions of this article and the various applications thereof are declared to be severable.
This article shall take effect 15 days after publication of the Article in a newspaper having a circulation in the Town of North Haven and shall remain in effect through the current revaluation period which ends with the 2019 Grand List. The Assessor will not accept any applications for property tax freeze relief pursuant to this article subsequent to May 15, 2020, unless this section is amended by the Town Meeting.