I’m a senior on a fixed income. Can I afford higher property taxes?

Answer

Property taxes can be a challenge for some seniors on fixed incomes. The State of Colorado and Boulder County offer two programs aimed at helping seniors cope with property taxes.

Senior tax exemption: If you are 65 or older, you can apply for a tax deferral on your primary residence. The taxes are then paid when the property sells or changes ownership. Interest is charged on the loan, but it is a low interest rate (currently 3%). Some seniors realized they could invest their property tax dollars and make more than the interest charged on the exemption. Seniors apply to get a new deferral each year, so people can evaluate their needs each year. (Need that new roof or boiler? Defer.)

Senior homestead exemption: If you are 65 or older and have owned and lived in your home for at least ten years, 50% of the first $200,000 in actual value (as calculated by the County Assessor) of your primary residence is exempted from property tax. The State of Colorado reimburses the county treasurer for this lost revenue.

The library is also an important resource for seniors. The library home delivery program serves seniors and those with mobility issues directly, so that they can get the resources they need without needing to come in-person. And when the pandemic hit, Boulder library staff called every senior over the age of 65 in the library card system. Their call was a welfare check, to make sure that the seniors in the Boulder community were doing ok, and to ask them how the library could be of service. For some seniors, the library is one of their only sources for human interaction. Volunteers make up approximately 14% of the library's entire workforce, and retirees make up the bulk of that group. Many retired professionals have found meaning and purpose through the library's volunteer opportunities. It's vitally important that the library is there for those who depend on it the most.