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County Ups Income Level For Exemption For Seniors, Those With Disabilities

MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County is raising the maximum income level for senior citizens and people with disabilities who are receiving a property tax exemption.

During the recent legislature meeting, county lawmakers increased the maximum income allowable for the disability exemption from $22,000 to $50,000 annually and the senior income from $22,000 to $58,400.

The $50,000 for people with disabilities and the $58,400 for seniors is the maximum allowed by the state.

The legislation was not discussed during the full legislature meeting, but during committee meetings, officials were told that the income level had not been increased since 2014.

Real Property Tax Director Kim Meleen explained that there are 66 parcels in the county that get the disabled exemption now. For someone to apply, they appear before their local assessor to make the determination.

For the senior exemption, residents must be 65 years or older. The last time it was raised was in 2017.

Meleen said the average senior income in Chautauqua County is roughly $34,000.

Meleen said local assessors requested the increase, in part, because some seniors received a cost of living increase for their Social Security and that increase is causing some to no longer be eligible for the property tax exemption. “With their increase, if they lost their exemption, it’s not going to cover what their new tax bill is going to be,” she said.

These adjustments will only apply to county taxes. Meleen said it’s up to local municipalities if they want to adjust their maximum income level or not.

Meleen said for the seniors in terms of tax impact, “nothing will change because the seniors won’t be losing their exemption.”

The legislation for the seniors states that it is a partial real property tax exemption. Meleen said eligible seniors get a 50% discount of their assessed valuation.

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