The Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit is a highly effective, targeted tax credit for any owner or renter 65 year or older who meets the income and property value guidelines - and, unlike other types of local property tax exemptions - the state pays for it. The maximum credit in the coming tax year will be $970.

DOR has just released the rules and regulations for the program in tax year 2010. To qualify, an owner or renter's total income cannot exceed $51,000 for a single individual; $64,000 for a head of household; and $77,000 for a married couple filing a joint return. The property's assessed valuation cannot exceed $764,000.

As you can see from these limits, a great number of senior homeowners and renters may qualify for this refundable tax credit against personal income taxes.

I would urge local officials to take a moment to make sure that staffs in treasurers, collectors and assessors offices are able to point potential taxpayer beneficiaries to it. The program is also retroactive for three years, so taxpayers who find themselves eligible in tax year 2010 may also be in line for credits for previous tax years. This credit last year delivered nearly $60 million in tax credits to more than 77 thousand eligible taxpayers.

While we are on the subject of property taxes, I would also like to point out the recent guidelines DLS has issued for the Municipal Tax Amnesty Program pdf format of igr10_208.pdf . This program, approved as part of the 2010 Municipal Relief Act, requires enactment of a city or town's legislative body. The program does not waive payment of unpaid local taxes, but it does provide for the waiver of interest, penalties and collection costs owed on those delinquent taxes. This could well be a useful tool for cities and towns in search of tax revenue.

Robert G. Nunes