Friday, August 15, 2008

Senior Freeze’ Applications Due September 1

Pinal County Assessor Staff Ready to Help with Application Materials


FLORENCE, AZ – September 1 is the deadline for filing for the Senior Property Valuation Protection or more commonly known as the 'Senior Freeze.' 


"This is an important program approved by the state that allows us to freeze the full cash value of a primary residence," Pinal County Assessor Paul Larkin said.  "What this does is provides a greater degree of financial stability for people with qualifying low incomes."


Larkin explained that state laws do not allow taxing jurisdictions to freeze taxes because tax bills reflect the tax rates of multiple jurisdictions such as fire districts, school districts and community colleges. 


"The actual tax bill may fluctuate from year to year but because the full cash value of the property is frozen, people on low or fixed incomes should see less movement in the total tax amount," Larkin said.


The total gross income of all owners is what is used to determine eligibility.  For a one-owner property, the income limit is $30,576.  If there are two or more owners, the limit is $38,220.  Income is verified using tax returns, W-2 forms or 1099 forms.


To qualify for the valuation freeze, at least one of the property owners must be at least 65 at the time of application.  The property must be the primary residence and the individual(s) must have lived there at least two years.  Owners can protect up to ten acres, plus the primary residence as long as it is at the same location and is identified by just one parcel number.


Applicants need to provide proof of residency with an Arizona driver's license or Arizona ID card.  If the property held in trust, individuals must provide proof of trustees along with the application.


Once approved, the valuation freeze is in effect for three years.  Six months prior to the expiration of the current period, the Pinal County Assessor mails existing freeze recipients a reminder to renew by reapplying.


Assessor Larkin's Exemptions Department is available to answer questions or assist with obtaining or completing the application.  The phone number for the department is at 520-866-6363.