Property Tax Deferral: A Proposal to Help Massachusetts Seniors

IB#17-19

The brief’s key findings are:

  • Some states and localities allow older homeowners to defer property taxes, with deferred amounts repaid with interest when the house is sold.
  • However, these programs have many limitations and very low take-up.
  • A proposed redesign for Massachusetts would:
    • open up the program to all older homeowners by removing income limits;
    • make sign up very simple – just check a box on the tax bill; and
    • have the state reimburse localities and collect repayments from participants.
  • Creating a pilot program to test this new design would be a good way to gauge its viability and improve its effectiveness.