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Legislature reinstates seniors into property tax deferral program

HB2510 includes those removed with reverse mortgages and not living in homes for five years


On May 28, Oregon House members voted unanimously to reinstate nearly 700 homeowners into the Senior and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program who were kicked out two years ago, and the bill is on the way to the Senate for approval.

House Bill2510 reinstates homeowners who have reverse mortgages and/or have not lived in their homes for at least five years to be included in the tax-deferral the program beginning with the 2014-15 tax year.

On April 5, Gov. John Kitzhaber signed HB2489 - the bill that permanently grandfathers 1,500 senior homeowners with reverse mortgages back into the Senior and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program who were removed from the state’s property tax deferral program in 2011 because they had reverse mortgages.

The Oregon State Legislature established the Senior and Disabled Citizens Property Tax Deferral Program in 1963 to help qualified citizens pay their county property taxes. Essentially, the state agrees to make property tax payments on behalf of eligible participants. A lien is placed on their property, and all taxes and fees with interest must be repaid before the lien is removed.

This is the second year the state of Oregon has asked participants to recertify their eligibility for the program. Prior to changes made during the 2011 Legislature, no recertification process existed; once applicants gained admission to the program, they would remain active until they either died, transferred their property to someone else, or moved from their property for reasons not related to health.

The Alliance of Vulnerable Homeowners, which was formed two years ago, has fought for the reinstatement of senior and low-income families who were abruptly dropped from the program two years ago.

Alliance members and friends celebrated the passage of HB2489 while continuing to work on HB2510, according to alliance spokesman David Raphael.

“Related to all of that is the need, we believe, for Oregon to establish a Homestead Tax Exemption Program, similar to the property tax relief programs offered to residents in Washington and other states,” he said. “HB2507 was introduced at the beginning of the legislative session, and proposes to study the costs and benefits of an exemption program.

“Actually implementing such an initiative might become part of a more comprehensive tax reform proposal next year. I submitted testimony at the House Revenue Committee's hearing on HB2507 the first week in April.”

Applications and information about the program can be obtained from county assessors’ offices or online at www.oregon.gov/dor/scd.