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Safe Senior’ program provides tax relief for low-income residents

County workers trained on new property refund program

Employees of county treasurer's and clerk's offices of 14 area counties attend a class at the Douglas County Courthouse. Ron Grant, right, of the Kansas Department of Revenue, taught a course on a new property tax refund program for low-income senior citizens.

Employees of county treasurer's and clerk's offices of 14 area counties attend a class at the Douglas County Courthouse. Ron Grant, right, of the Kansas Department of Revenue, taught a course on a new property tax refund program for low-income senior citizens.

October 8, 2008

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Seniors may get larger tax breaks

There's a new kind of property tax relief for low-income seniors in Kansas. Enlarge video

Some low-income Kansas senior citizens will be eligible for more property tax relief in 2009.

Clerk and treasurer's office employees from Douglas and area counties met Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass., to learn about a new property tax refund plan known as "Safe Senior."

It's a program administered under the Kansas Homestead Act that provides tax refunds to low-income residents.

"I think it's important for every clerk and their assistants to know 'OK, who is going to qualify? Who would this benefit?' and be looking out because potentially they could get a larger refund than they could under the old homestead plan," said Ron Grant, a tax specialist with the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Eligible Kansas residents must be born before Jan. 1, 1943, own a home in the state during 2008 and have a household income of $16,800 or less.

The refund is 45 percent of the general property tax as long as the appraised value of the home does not exceed $350,000. Assistance is also available for senior citizens who rent.

Grant said the people who qualify for Safe Senior typically already visit the county clerk or treasurer's office annually to fill out paperwork for a homestead program refund.

But the state wants county employees to be aware of qualifications for Safe Seniors assistance because it offers a larger refund to those who qualify, and they can't have both.

About 30 employees from departments in area counties attended Grant's training session in Lawrence.

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