BRISTOL - The City Council has approved the Senior Volunteer Tax Relief Program for 2019, providing a tax cut of $300 to senior homeowners who volunteer a certain amount of time to local non-profits.
The tax credit is available to anyone over the age of 65, who owns real property as a principal residence, and who has an annual income no more than $45,000 per single person or $50,000 per senior couple not including Social Security.
To qualify, the senior must complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours at a non-profit agency in Bristol between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. The tax credit will be applied to fiscal year 2019-20, on a first come first served basis, up to a total of $24,000 issued by the city.
“This is a great opportunity for Bristol seniors to not only receive a break on their taxes, but it also encourages them to be involved with organizations that are in need of volunteers with their knowledge, expertise and work ethic,” said Patricia Tomascak, executive director of the city’s Department of Aging, located at the Senior Center.
“We believe it is really important for seniors to stay in their homes and live independently for as long as they are able to do so, and want to do so,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “Knowing that many of them are on fixed incomes, this tax credit is one way that we can give them some relief toward their property taxes.”
“So many of our seniors already donate time and talent to various non-profits that this is a pretty easy program,” said Councilor Greg Hahn, who is the liaison to the Senior Center. “It is really a win-win for the community and our senior homeowners.”
Hahn, who brought the program to the council’s attention, said it is a pilot program that will be evaluated after one year. Zoppo-Sassu said it is considered a pilot program because the income threshold has been raised.
“Some of you may recall last year we voted to increase the levels because we were missing out on some people who could really have benefited from it but just fell short of what those income thresholds are,” she told the council members.
Zoppo-Sassu said more people applying mean the city will come closer to the $24,000 budget line allocated to cover the tax credits, “but we are still not close to exceeding the $24,000 at this point, so we are still in a comfortable place with the program as it has been run.”
For more information visit the Senior Center weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or go to the city’s website at www.bristolct.gov under Departments-Senior Center, or call the Senior Center at 860-584-7895.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.