Decade in Review: Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax relief

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In 2006, I wrote a post about the Senior Citizen Real Estate tax relief deduction. 2008, I mentioned that I used the senior relief deduction mentioned in the DC Real Property Assesment and the Social Security Death Index databases to find dead people, dead people who pay taxes. Extremely low, low taxes. At one point the family of the dead woman was paying less than $200 a year in property taxes for a house that served at least one working adult and other random relatives of varing ages. And there were people getting the deduction who didn't live there (guessing nursing home) along with dead people with deteriorating houses where nobody lived there

So I cocked my head aside when my former ANC, now city wide Councilwoman Anita Bonds suggested another senior real estate tax relief, but with paying no taxes at all. Now I love tax deductions and relief and not paying taxes when you don't have to but, I can see how this can be abused and make it bad for neighbors of an abandoned house owned by some random 80+ year old who is stuck in a nursing home. Or a problem house where great grandma owns it, but a bunch of her grown grandchildren are living in it. Seriously, few people consider their adult children/grandchildren's income to be part of their household income, so I see how that income limit could be interpreted in other ways. So if Councilmember Bonds does actually get this thing thru hopefully there will be something in there to deal with those issues with some auditing or the like.

Funny thing, while writing this I looked up the few seniors that I know to own their homes in my hood. One the listed owner is getting the senior discount, but that person has been dead a good long while, but it's ok because the widow is also old (well over 65 y.o.) and living there with random adult relatives. I also looked up my great aunt, who died early last year, and had been in a Maryland nursing home for YEARS.... YEARS.... She's still getting the Senior Citizen Homestead deduction for her SE home. She's been paying (well her estate has been paying) about $600 a year in property taxes to the District. Amazing, dead and buried in Maryland, but still getting a DC discount.

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