Getting A Break?

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knoxville (WVLT) A Knox County property tax break may soon be coming your way, if you're a senior citizen and you meet the requirements.

"And" if Knox County Commission passes the law at its meeting next Monday.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has more.

Basic requirements are you must be at least age 65 and your annual income does "not" exceed $32,400 dollars.

And you must apply in person.

Citizen and homeowner Bob Perry says, "they're dragging their feet. They should have been on it a long time ago."

Perry knows first-hand how expensive it is for folks no longer in the workforce.

"Everything's going up. If you're in the workforce, you manage to get a raise to take care of that, but when you're on a fixed income, you gradually fall behind."

Knox County Trustee Fred Sisk is looking for the property tax-break to pass when it comes up for a county commission vote next Monday.

"I think it's going to be received very positively."

Sisk estimates this will help more than 10,000 Knox County households, and says the savings will add up.

Sisk continues, "my property tax over the past 10 years has increased approximately 50%."

It's a savings for seniors, but will others be picking up the slack?

Sisk says, "we're probably going to have to pay one more cent on the tax rate than somebody else, possibly two cents. On a $100,000 dollar home, that's about five dollars a year."

It's commonly called a property tax freeze, but really there's no freeze about it.

Craig Leuthold, the Chairman of the Knox County Intergovernmental Committee says, "they call it a freeze, but it's really more like a ceiling that way your taxes cannot go up."

Given that. Does that mean that there's a chance a senior's property taxes could actually go down?

Leuthold says, "they could float down if, say, the break goes down or your assessment doesn't keep up with the average income assessment."

Emma Perry, a retired homeowner says, "I think if anybody needs it that age group does need it because they are on a limited income, and they don't get many cost of living raises."

It's not a raise, but a break certainly worth getting.

If it passes, you'll be able to apply beginning October first.

Now Knoxville city hasn't had a property tax increase since 2004, and city officials tell us that right now they have no plans for a tax ceiling for seniors.


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