Property Tax Exemptions for 55+ Community Members?

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J.B. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Hello! I am wondering whether you know of any states or towns (in the country) offer or require a property tax exemption for 55+ communities that do not receive municipal services, such as trash pick-up. Thank you, J.B.

Mister Condo replies:

J.B., hello to you as well! Property tax exemptions are a bit unusual because most times the original developer of the community was the one who accepted the city or town’s terms for developing the condo community. Most municipalities look at condominiums as High Density Housing (HDH) developments which put a potential burden on the community’s general services. So even if things like road maintenance, lighting, and trash removal are not provided, services like police, fire and rescue, and more are provided. Sure, the municipality comes out ahead on some measures but short on others. The end result is that many municipalities simply tax the unit owners within the community the same as every other property owner in town. That being said, I know of some communities here in our state that have successfully negotiated to have their municipality handle their trash removal. They still plow their own roads in the winter and maintain their own streetlights but at least they’re getting the same trash removal as all other taxpayers.

The biggest issue I hear about from 55+ communities is having their property taxes used for education. They argue that they and their children are past the age of school so why should they be taxed for something they’ll never use. This is especially true for retirees who move into a new community where they nor their children or grandchildren have sued the local schools. Sun City in Arizona is the only community I am aware of that has specifically given a tax exemption to 55+ communities for education services. And they did this through an unusual move where the communities removed themselves from the school district.

There is a great website on the subject at http://www.55places.com/. In particular, take a look at this article – http://www.55places.com/blog/10-great-low-tax-retirement-communities. Sorry to say that Connecticut did not make that list. Maybe, next time!

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