2017-02-07 / Local

Property tax relief applications due March 1

From New Hampshire Legal Assistance, 24 Opera House Square in Claremont:

Property taxes are unaffordable for many homeowners across the state who are older, have disabilities, and/or have low income.  However, if those taxes are not paid, homeowners can eventually lose their home to the town or city through tax deeding. (The town or city takes the home to pay off the taxes owed, and thereafter evicts the homeowner by court process.)  State law provides a variety of forms of property tax relief, many of which have application deadlines of March 1. Here is important information on the major types of property tax relief: 


Property Tax Deferrals:
Homeowners who are older and/or have disabilities and would suffer serious financial hardship or a possible loss of their property because of the burden of property taxes can apply for a property tax deferral. Under this program, the town can take a deferral lien on the home for the taxes owed. Once the town files a deferral lien, interest accrues at five percent (5 percent) a year on the deferred taxes. Although a tax deferral is like a mortgage, the deferred taxes and interest do not have to be paid unless the homeowner sells the property or dies.

To qualify, the taxpayer must be 65 or older, or eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits; and have owned the home for at least five years if the request is based on age, or one year if the request is based on receiving disability benefits; and be living in the home; and the total amount of taxes deferred does not exceed 85 percent of the property’s equity value.

The deadline for applying for a tax deferral with the tax assessor or selectmen is March 1 following the final tax bill for the year.  (The tax deferral request is only for that one year’s taxes and not taxes still owed from earlier years.)  To apply for a tax deferral, the taxpayer should use the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA)’s Form PA-30 “Elderly and Disabled Tax Deferral Application.”  The form is available on the DRA’s website at:http://revenue.nh.gov/forms/exempt-credit.htm

The form can also be requested by calling the Department of Revenue Administration at 230-5001, and town or city offices may have copies available upon request.


Property Tax Abatements Based on Hardship or Poverty:
Property taxes may be reduced or waived (“abated”) by a town or city if the taxpayer is able to show “good cause.”  Good cause for an abatement of property taxes includes the inability to pay the taxes.  This is commonly referred to as a “hardship” or “poverty” abatement.

 The deadline for applying for an abatement with the assessors or Selectmen is March 1 following the final tax bill for the year.   The assessors or Selectmen now may also abate prior years' taxes for good cause.  To apply for a tax abatement, use the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA)’s “Taxpayer’s RSA 76:16 Abatement Application to Municipality.”  The form is available on the Board of Land and Tax Appeals’ website as follows:  http://www.nh.gov/btla/forms/documents/municipal-abatement.pdf.

The form can also be requested by calling the Board of Tax and Land Appeals at (603) 271-2578, and town or city offices may have copies available upon request.

Please note:  Some municipalities mail to and require taxpayers to complete an inventory form by April 15 of the preceding year as a precondition to an abatement request. 


Additional Information:
The town or city has until July 1 following the tax bill to decide whether to allow the tax deferral and/or abatement. If the taxpayer is unhappy with the town’s decision, the taxpayer can file an appeal with either the Board of Land and Tax Appeals or the Superior Court by September 1 of the year following the tax bill. 

 Other Important Property Tax Relief Deadlines:
The deadline for applying for tax exemptions or credits (including exemptions for older homeowners and credits for veterans, and optional exemptions for people who are legally blind, deaf/hearing impaired, or who have other disabilities) for 2016 property taxes is April 15, 2016.  Tax exemptions lower the amount of the property which is taxed, and credits directly reduce the taxes required to be paid.  The next filing period to apply for state education property tax relief is May 1, 2017 to June 30, 2017.  Forms for these other types of property tax relief also are available on-line or by calling the Department of Revenue.

Homeowners who need advice about property tax relief can contact the Legal Advice and Referral Center (LARC) by submitting an on-line application at www.nhlegalaid.org, or by calling (603) 224-3333.  Persons at least 60 years old can contact New Hampshire Legal Assistance’s Senior Citizens Advice Line at 1-888-353-9944.


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