Do 55+ Communities Pay School Taxes?
May 11, 2021Retirement Communities
Several benefits come with living in an adult community but avoiding paying school taxes isn't one of them.
Even though property taxes vary from state to state, school taxes seem to be a constant part of the taxes that you pay to the local tax authority. And because seniors are living on fixed incomes and no longer have school-going children, they feel that they should be exempted from paying school taxes. This has been an ongoing debate given that many people of all ages are in this similar situation. But is it true that 55+ communities aren't required to pay the school portion of property taxes?
Do 55+ communities pay school taxes? Yes, you're responsible for paying property taxes if you own a home in a 55+ community. School taxes are included in property taxes, so it's difficult to avoid them. It's normal that seniors who have attained the age of 55 and above no longer have children in public school systems and would, of course, love to avoid paying school taxes. Unfortunately, it's difficult to avoid paying school taxes, so you'll just have to pay them.
There are no specific laws or rules that exempt seniors living in 55+ communities from paying the school taxes portion of property taxes. There are, however, many tax abatements that can reduce or eliminate school taxes but this may depend on your state. It's, therefore, important that you do your due diligence when evaluating different senior communities.
This is because each state offers differing exemptions and deferrals that may be based on demographics, including seniors. In fact, the exemptions in your city can differ from the town next to you! As such, it's important to do thorough research on your specific area or senior community and find out if the community is eligible for school tax exemptions.
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Why Seniors Detest Paying School Taxes
When talking about school taxes, many people often argue that they're part of property taxes, and anyone who owns a property should pay these taxes whether a senior or not. Again, the argument is that it doesn't matter whether the property is within a senior community; you have to pay property taxes and school taxes are part of it.
However, many seniors do not have school-going children or do not have grandchildren so they feel that they should not pay school taxes. On the contrary, this doesn't mean that the seniors shouldn't be responsible for being a part of the community that provides an excellent education for the current or for the next generation. Without school taxes, it would be difficult for the nation to maintain the standard of education that we expect.
The idea here is that seniors make a large part of the population. As such, it's essential for them to contribute to bettering the local schools and community in general even if they're on a fixed income. And if the parents of children in schools have to contribute the money that seniors remit in the form of school taxes, they would move away and look for areas where that's not the case.
How School Tax Exemptions for Seniors can Affect States
Tax exemptions and deferrals bring relief to seniors and can also be beneficial to the states that offer them. Tax exemptions are generally favorably to seniors given that they live on fixed incomes and are a great way of making their lives a lot easier. Again, seniors are held in high esteem by the general public who widely feel that they deserve several public benefits, including school tax exemptions.
That being said, states that offer tax exemptions to seniors tend to be more favorable to the seniors. When choosing the best city to retire, most seniors consider various factors such as climate, access to quality health care, proximity to their family and friends, and others. They may also want to consider tax-friendly locations.
So if a particular state offers tax exemptions, it can be popular with seniors looking for tax-friendly places to retire. And even though school tax exemptions may seem minute, they are great in ensuring that property taxes are minimized, which can be great for seniors as they depend on fixed incomes.
So Do Seniors Deserve School Tax Exemptions?
One of the main reasons why seniors feel that they should be exempted from school taxes is that they are on a fixed income. But if you look at it critically, almost everyone is on a fixed income. For instance, working people know the exact paycheck that they will receive each month. The theory is that people under the retirement age can earn more or move from job to job, which can increase their earnings.
Honestly speaking, taxes are never easy on anyone's pockets. Even billionaires have issues with taxes despite having almost endless coffers. But when it comes to paying school taxes, this is an important part of the society that we should share as a community. No matter our age, status in society, or whether or not we are parents, we should share the responsibility of making our schooling system better.
Whether seniors have kids or not, they still want educated doctors, pilots, chefs, artists, lawyers, and even educated politicians to make proper decisions for the good of the country. This cannot be possible without a good education system.
So What Should You Do?
As we noted earlier, your county, city, or state government may take the taxes but they're not obligated to inform you whether or not you're eligible for any tax exemption. As a senior, it should be your responsibility to find out about the tax breaks that are offered by the government and apply for them. Without that, you'll still pay taxes and may not enjoy the benefits that come with numerous tax exemptions that are meant for seniors.
The best thing to do is go into tax agency websites and look for the exemptions that are available within your preferred area. You, of course, do not want to pay money that you may not have to as long as you have the right information.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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