YARMOUTH — A property tax assistance program for senior citizens was approved by the Town Council.
Councilors on Sept. 15 approved the program 4-2, with Andy Kittredge and Randall Bates opposed. Senior Tax Assistance Yarmouth, or STAY, applies to residents who are at least 67 years old.
Residents wishing to participate in STAY must submit an application to Town Manager Nat Tupper before the last business day in April during the fiscal year the refund is being requested. A new application is required every year.
Applicants must have been residents of Yarmouth for at least 10 consecutive years and must be living in their current residence for at least one year. Applicants must submit proof of household income and proof of property taxes.
The eligibility of residents who apply for assistance will be determined by assessing their household income compared to their property taxes. The applicant’s household income can’t exceed 90 percent of the median family income set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the department, this year’s MFI in greater Portland is $76,800.
The applicant’s household income will be compared against their tax bill or $3,350, whichever is less.
The amount of assistance received will be calculated by subtracting 4 percent of the household income from the person’s tax bill and dividing that number in half. No refund can exceed $750.
The cap will depend on how much the applicant makes. A refund of $750 is based on a household income of 60 percent or less of the MFI. An income of 70 percent or less would have a refund capped at $600; 80 percent or less has a cap of $450; and 90 percent or less has a cap of $300.
Applicants who qualify for tax assistance will receive a check by May 15. Refunds will come from the town’s general fund as it is available.
Leigh Kirchner of the Yarmouth Aging in Place Committee said in an email that the committee is pleased with the tax assistance program.
“(Councilors) did a lot of hard work to bring this forward in support of some of the goals of the Yarmouth Aging in Place community survey, which stated loud and clear that seniors are concerned about being taxed out of town, even though they really enjoy what the Yarmouth community has to offer,” Kirchner said.