While Charlottesville’s city council contemplates raising real estate taxes for the next fiscal year, city officials are offering city seniors a possible shot of relief from a bigger bill.
Charlottesville residents who own and reside in their homes and are 65 years of age or older or are permanently disabled may qualify for a tax relief program offered by the city. To qualify, homeowners must have a yearly income of $55,000 or less and a net worth of $125,000 or less.
The city opened its applications for the program on Monday. Applicants must have turned 65 before Dec. 31, 2021 or became permanently and totally disabled, subject to verification, by that date. Anyone who received the tax relief last year must apply again.
Property for which the exemption is claimed must be occupied and the sole dwelling of the applicant. Before-tax combined income in 2021 from everyone who lives in the property cannot be more than $55,000. More criteria is listed on the application site.
The program, which is offered every year, opens at a time when real estate taxes are nearly certain to rise. The City Assessor’s Office announced new home assessments last month, which increased by an average 11.69 percent for the 2022 year. Even if the city council does not raise the tax rate, the increase in assessed value will create an increase in property taxes.
While individual taxes will vary, the average residential owner could see between a 10% and 12% increase in the property tax rate, if the tax rate remains the same, City Assessor Jeff Davis said. The city’s real estate tax rate is 95 cents per $100 of assessed value. That’s below the state average of $1.04.
But that could change, too. The city is discussing the possibility of a 10-cent real estate tax rate increase to help fund the city schools reconfiguration project. Last week City Council agreed to advertise a potential 10-cent tax rate increase, but not all councilors are sold on the idea.
Residents can apply for real estate tax relief online at www.charlottesville.gov/COR or make an appointment to apply in-person by visiting www.charlottesville.gov/COR or by calling 434-970-3160. Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Applicants must apply online or in-person, providing valid identification and documentation of income and net worth.