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.