Monday, Dec. 04, 2023|
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More than 5,000 Big Island kupuna could get a larger property tax break under a new bill that will be discussed today.
Kohala Councilwoman Cindy Evans will introduce at today’s County Council Finance Committee a measure that would expand the county’s homeowner tax exemption for homeowners 80 years old and over.
Presently, the county code establishes a specific tiered tax exemption for homeowners over the age of 60.
Qualified homeowners between age 60 and 65 are entitled to an $85,000 exemption from the taxable value of their home. For those between 65 and 70, the exemption is $90,000; between 70 and 75, it’s $105,000; and for people over 75, it’s $110,000.
Evans’ bill would add a new tier, granting taxpayers 80 and older a $125,000 exemption.
“We have an aging population, and the cost of living is going up,” Evans said Monday. “On top of that, people are living longer. I thought it was time to update in order to reflect that.”
Eligible taxpayers include individuals who own and occupy property as a principal home. Spouses can only claim two homes for the exemption if they are living separately, in which case they receive one exemption apportioned equally between the two homes.
“Another thing is that, when you’re 80 years old, you see a lot of widowed people, people who’ve lost spouses,” Evans said. “And that impacts people a lot, financially.”
The larger exemption is in addition to another tax break for homeowners, which exempts 20% of the property’s value up to $100,000, Evans said.
Evans said that based on data from the county Department of Finance, there are 5,316 Big Island residents who would currently qualify for the proposed additional exemption for those 80 and over, which would cost the county roughly $394,000. The average savings per beneficiary would be about $74 — small for some, but for seniors on a fixed income, it’s still significant, she said.
“We have to look at our seniors and our keiki, see what’s changing in our society, and figure out a way to help them,” Evans said.
Email Michael Brestovansky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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